Supreme Court hearing on energy projects draws large crowd

(Demonstrators outside of the Supreme Court of Canada Wednesday.)

APTN National News
When Cedar Parker was in Seattle for Black Friday he says someone tried to rob him leaving him bruised and with cuts on his face.

Parker said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is trying to do rob him, too.

“The government is trying to rob me …of my future for a material object,” said Parker, a member Tsleil-Waututh Nation in B.C., of the Trudeau government’s approval of two pipelines Tuesday.

The thug in Seattle may have roughed him up but Parker is more frightened by Trudeau.

He was among dozens of demonstrators Wednesday at the Supreme Court of Canada rallying in support of two cases being heard at the country’s highest court.

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on a case that could lead to a major overhaul of the way the federal government consults Indigenous communities on energy projects.

Two cases are to be heard together to essentially settle an argument: Does the National Energy Board (NEB) execute the Crown’s duty to consultation with Indigenous communities through its public consultation process?

The Chippewas of the Thames First Nation in Ontario and the Inuit community of Clyde River in Nunavut argue it doesn’t. The NEB approved both projects.

The NEB is not a Crown agent, but part of the executive branch of the federal government, and makes recommendations to Ottawa on whether energy projects should proceed. The federal cabinet then gives final approval.

In the case of the Chippewas, located near London, Ont., they opposed Enbridge’s interest in expanding and reversing the flow on a large portion of an existing oil pipeline that stretches approximately 830 km from Sarnia, Ont. to Montreal, Que. The section of pipeline in question is known as Line 9B, and was constructed in 1975.

In Nunavut, the NEB approved Petroleum Geo-Services to conduct seismic testing in the waters of Baffin Bay and Davis Strait off the coast of Baffin Island in Nunavut.

The testing would happen 24 hours a day, five months per year for five years, something the Hamlet of Clyde River and other interested parties oppose.

Residents feel the testing is harmful to marine mammals, including narwhal, ringed seal and the bowhead whale – something the Inuit rely on for their food and culture.

Wednesday’s rally was planned weeks in advance but was strengthened by Trudeau approving two pipeline expansion projects coming out of Alberta – Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C. and Enbridge’s Line 3 from Hardisty, Alta., through Neche, ND, to Superior, Wis.

Trudeau rejected Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway project, which would also have moved bitumen from Alberta to the B.C. coast.

Protests are already being planned by environment and climate activists, as well as First Nations and Indigenous people who oppose the expansions.

Tsleil-Waututh has vowed to stop the Trans Mountain expansion.

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