Consulting on Trans Mountain pipeline while planning to build anyway is a ‘farce’: Saganash

“If you have decided already you can hardly call this consultation.”


The federal government has always said the Trans Mountain will be built and that hasn’t changed since the Federal Court of Appeal overturned Ottawa’s previous approval of the project.

The appellate court ruled in August the Trudeau government needed to do a better job of consulting First Nations along the route.

The government announced Wednesday it was starting the consultation process all over again but no First Nation can veto the project.

It’s a hot topic once again and dominated the political panel in the season premiere of Nation to Nation airing Thursday.

“Everyone is enthusiastic about the pipeline. This is a pipeline that we said is a in the national interest but that doesn’t mean we (can) circumvent our constitutional duties to consult Indigenous peoples,” said Marc Miller, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.

Miller said the government admits it needs to do a better job.

“We have acknowledged that and said we will do it right and we will take the time to do it right,” said Miller.

Before the Federal Court halted the expansion of the pipeline from Edmonton, Alta., to Burnaby, B.C., it had boosted of its level of consultation.

Either way, NDP MP Romeo Sagansh said Ottawa can’t say the pipeline be built and then consult at the same time if the conclusion has already been made.

“If you have decided already you can hardly call this consultations from the constitutional perspective, obligation and duties of the Crown,” said Saganash.

“This is a farce, for me. I think any court in this land will reject that consultation.”

Conservative MP Cathy McLeod, who is the shadow minister on Indigenous Services, said many of the First Nations had previously signed agreements to build the pipeline.

McLeod said there has been a lot of consultation already.

“It sounds like the government wants to go back to square one. They want to consult about consulting to decide how they are going to consult,” she said.

Former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci has been hired by Canada to lead the new round of consultations.

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