On June 29, 2021, Blueberry River First Nations (“Blueberry”) won a ground-breaking case that provides urgent legal direction to the Province to stop the “death by a thousand cuts” resulting from its disconnected, piecemeal approvals for activities like logging, oil and gas development, dams and mining, in order to respect the constitutionally-protected rights of Indigenous peoples.
Environmental Law Alert Blog
Through our Environmental Law Alert blog, West Coast keeps you up to date on the latest developments and issues in environmental law. This includes:
- proposed changes to the law that will weaken, or strengthen, environmental protection;
- stories and situations where existing environmental laws are failing to protect the environment; and
- emerging legal strategies that could be used to protect our environment.
In recent years, oil and gas companies have tried desperately to “clean up” their images in relation to the environment by referencing policies like carbon taxes or the shift to natural gas as part of the effort to fight climate change.
We feel, in the wake of this year’s heat wave and the loss of the Village of Lytton to wildfire, that the BC government needs to do much more – much more urgently – to protect our communities from climate change.
With BC coming out of the worst heat wave in … well, probably ever, with the Village of Lytton burnt to the ground and the prospect of more wildfires over the summer, let’s ask the question: what should our government be doing to keep us safe from climate change?
**TRIGGER WARNING** - This post discusses colonial violence, residential schools
With renewed calls to #CancelCanadaDay resounding across the country, some of West Coast’s team members shared their reflections this July 1st.
I am a staff lawyer at West Coast and I work with our Access to Justice and RELAW (Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water) Programs. I am a mother, I am a daughter, and I am the granddaughter of Lottie and Isaac Lindley, who both attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School in Secwépemc Territory. I also work in the building and my office is #215.
Old-growth logging in British Columbia is just as controversial today as when the “War of the Woods” hit international headlines in the 1990s. The way the RCMP is continuing to use legally-questionable “exclusion zones” to restrict access in the Fairy Creek area protests is fueling the public’s confusion about these important issues.
On June 9th I appeared as a witness before the Senate Energy, Environment and Natural Resource Committee to speak about Bill C-12, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act.
“Our ancestors knew that their survival depended on clean water and taking only what was needed. Indigenous peoples lived by the natural laws of the land and waters, and that allowed our societies to thrive.” - Bev Sellars, Elder and former chief, Xat’sull Nation
West Coast’s climate team was talking recently with an Environmental Coordinator with a BC local government when she mentioned – almost casually, although she was clearly upset – that most of the funding that her community has for climate change adaptation and planning had disappeared for next year.