The BC government must now make its own decision about a proposed pipeline project that it has publicly claimed to oppose.
In a significant victory for Indigenous rights, the BC Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the provincial government "abdicated" its Constitutional obligations by giving up provincial authority to impose conditions on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. Without such authority the province could not meaningfully accommodate the rights of affected First Nations, even on issues that the BC itself had conceded were serious concerns.
The court ruled that BC must now consult with First Nations about the potential impacts of Northern Gateway “on areas of provincial jurisdiction” and “how those impacts are to be addressed in a manner consistent with the honour of the Crown and reconciliation.”
The decision does not affect the project approval granted by the federal government – which is the subject of a separate as yet unresolved legal challenge.