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Field notes from the Salish Sea Summer Gathering

20 August, 2014

This year marked the Third Annual Salish Sea Summer Gathering in Whey-ah Wichen/Cates Park in North Vancouver, hosted by the Tsleil Waututh Nation Sacred Trust. West Coast Environmental Law was pleased to be a part of the day and be a sponsor of this event. Held on August 10th, the gathering featured Juno-winning musical acts, a poetry stage, a traditional canoe panel, and a great lineup of speakers including Rex Weiler, Chiefs affected by the Mt. Polley mine tailings pond spill, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, and West Coast Environmental Law Staff Lawyer Eugene Kung.

This year marked the Third Annual Salish Sea Summer Gathering in Whey-ah Wichen/Cates Park in North Vancouver, hosted by the Tsleil Waututh Nation Sacred Trust. West Coast Environmental Law was pleased to be a part of the day and be a sponsor of this event.

See you in court, Enbridge! First Nations launch legal challenges to Enbridge pipelines and tankers project

18 July, 2014

In a wave of legal filings on July 11 and July 14, 2014, eight First Nations from Haida Gwaii to Yinka Dene territory west of Prince George set in motion legal proceedings that, combined with 9 court cases filed earlier this year, have the potential to stop or significantly delay the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines and tankers project (the “Enbridge Project”).

Chief Martin Louie of the Nadleh Whut'en First Nation addresses reporters

In

Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia: Implications for the Enbridge Tankers and Pipelines Project

27 June, 2014

On June 26, 2014 the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia marked a watershed moment in the long journey of First Nations peoples to achieve recognition of their inherent title and authority over their ancestral territories. With the first court declaration of Aboriginal title in Canadian history, the SCC clarified the Canadian legal tests about Aboriginal title, and acknowledged the title and authority of the Tsilhqot’in people to use, manage and economically benefit from a 1,750 square kilometre portion of their territories southwest of Williams Lake, BC.

Almost as soon as the decision was out, our office began to get questions about the implications of the Tsilhqot’in decision for controversial tar sands infrastructure proposals like the Enbridge Northern Gateway tankers and pipelines project. Here are some of the key reasons why yesterday’s SCC decision increases legal risk for the Enbridge project.

On June 26, 2014 the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia marked a watershed moment in the long journey of First Nations peoples to achieve recognition of their inherent title and authority over their ancestral territories.

Field Notes: a Visit to Lummi Nation's Sacred Summit and the Protection of the Salish Sea

25 June, 2014

The 10 day Water Festival hosted by The Lummi Nation of Washington State wrapped up on June 22nd. I had the opportunity to attend part of the festival, along with another law student volunteer and WCEL Staff Lawyer, Eugene Kung. The part we were present for was the Stommish Sacred Summit, which consisted of a day of presentations on the topic of Sacred Obligations, a talk by Winona LaDuke, and a rally against a proposed coal port in the Salish Sea. These events hold great relevance for the environmental movement and the fight against fossil fuel projects in Canada.

The 10 day Water Festival hosted by The Lummi Nation of Washington State wrapped up on June 22nd. I had the opportunity to attend part of the festival, along with another law student volunteer and WCEL Staff Lawyer, Eugene Kung. The part we were present for was the Stommish Sacred Summit, which consisted of a day of presentations on the topic of Sacred Obligations, a talk by Winona LaDuke, and a rally against a proposed coal port in the Salish Sea. These events hold great relevance for the environmental movement and the fight against fossil fuel projects in Canada.

Field notes on the Hupacasath legal challenge to the Canada-China FIPA: WCEL summer law student volunteer reports from the Federal Court of Appeal

18 June, 2014

On the morning of June 10, 2014, as my first investigative assignment as a law student volunteer working with West Coast Environmental Law, I was sent to the Federal Court of Appeal on the corner of the busy Georgia and Granville streets to observe an appeal brought by the Hupacasath First Nation (HFN), a small Vancouver Island First Nation community.  Never before having been in the Federal Courts, I was excited to enter the lofty, glass office building that quite contrasts with the much lower, brick structures of the neighbouring Provincial courts.  Not knowing exactly where to go, I followed a group of people dressed in suits as they entered Pacific Centre, assuming they would know where they were going.  They did.  As the first observer to arrive, I settled myself into the centre row with my laptop out, eager to capture the experience in writing.

On the morning of June 10, 2014, as my first investigative assignment as a law student volunteer working with West Coast Environmental Law, I was sent to the Federal Court of Appeal on the corner of the busy Georgia and Granville streets to observe an appeal brought by the Hupacasath First Nation (HFN), a small Vancouver Island First Nation community.  Never before having been in the Federal Courts, I was excited to enter the lofty, glass office building

Unwanted pipeline, unwilling province

Monday, June 16, 2014

First Nations, 2 in 3 British Columbians deny Northern Gateway permission to proceed

Vancouver, June 16 2014– A coalition of First Nations and civil society groups today delivered a final rejection of Enbridge’s pipeline and oil tanker project.

Media advisory: First Nations, allied groups to hold announcement on Enbridge

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Members of the press are invited to attend a joint announcement in Vancouver by a coalition of First Nations and civil society groups. Representatives from the following organizations will speak on the topic of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and oil tanker project:

Report from an All Clans Gathering: Why ignoring Indigenous laws on the Enbridge Pipeline is risky business

20 May, 2014

On April 11, 2014, the Yinka Dene Alliance (“YDA”) held an All Clans Gathering in Nak’azdli (adjacent to Fort St. James) in order for their leaders and elders to issue reasons for the rejection of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline in a gathering according to their laws. I was grateful to be invited as a witness at the gathering along with West Coast’s executive director and senior counsel Jessica Clogg. The power of the gathering really underlined why the federal government’s decision to essentially ignore First Nations’ assertions of their laws and governance in relation to the Enbridge pipeline is a serious risk, not just from a relationship-building standpoint but also in the context of Canadian law.

On April 11, 2014, the Yinka Dene Alliance (“YDA”) held an All Clans Gathering in Nak’azdli (adjacent to Fort St. James) in order for their leaders and elders to issue reasons for the rejection of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline in a gathering according to their laws. I was grateful to be invited as a witness at the gathering along with West Coast’s executive director and senior counsel Jessica Clogg.

Employment Opportunities: Environmental and Aboriginal Lawyers

Monday, April 7, 2014

Note: the deadline for applications has now passed and we are no longer accepting applications.

West Coast is seeking Environmental and Aboriginal Lawyers. Deadline for applications is April 30, 2014.

Taseko Mines, what part of “No” don’t you understand?

31 March, 2014

Last month, the federal government rejected Taseko Mines’ proposal to build the controversial New Prosperity Project. Again. But Taseko is going to court arguing that the environmental assessment process that resulted in a “No” for the second time was based on an error, and that it should have yet another opportunity – through a process again largely paid for by the taxpayer – to explain why its mine is a good idea.  Saying “yes” to development when it is environmentally and socially appropriate, does not mean that we can't have strong environmental laws that clearly set out the ground-rules for development, so that industry has certainty about when they will receive a no. Taseko has had two extremely thorough and expensive review panels from the federal government, and has been rejected twice by Cabinet, so it seems fair to ask Taseko mines, “What part of 'No' don’t you understand?”

Last month, the federal government rejected Taseko Mines’proposal to build the controversial New Prosperity Project.  For a second time.  But Taseko is going to court arguing that the environmental assessment process that resulted in a “No” for the second time was based on an error, and that it should have yet another opportunity – through a process again largely paid for by the taxpayer – to explain why its mine is a

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