Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs files application for leave to file judicial review with the Federal Court of Appeal to challenge the approval of the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project

January 12, 2017, Treaty One Territory -­ The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs filed an application for leave to file a Judicial Review with the Federal Court of Appeal to challenge the approval of the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project.

The Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project will effectively increase Canadian pipeline capacity by at least 370,000 barrels per day or roughly 9.5% of national daily crude oil production. This makes it increasingly unlikely that Canada will meet its Paris Climate Change commitments. Enbridge Line 3 will lead to further environmental degradation, including the risks to the watershed from spills, the effects of leaving decommissioned pipeline in the ground and public safety issues associated with the Project itself.

Grand Chief Derek Nepinak stated “Canada committed to restoring public confidence and modernizing the NEB with a specific focus on Indigenous and traditional knowledge. Instead, the Enbridge Line 3 decision is founded upon a process that marginalized Indigenous voices and legal orders. The Governor in Council decision makes no reference to Indigenous legal orders or the Great Binding Law. It is a fundamental step backwards in the renewal of a nation-­‐ to-­‐nation relationship. Instead, it stands as an example of another string of broken promises by the Canadian Government that damages its relationship with Indigenous Nations and the original peoples. ”

As part of its application for leave for judicial review, the AMC’s position includes serious concerns that:

  • Canada relied on a flawed NEB process as a key element of the Governor in Council’s decision. For example, the NEB:
    • failed to acknowledge the existence of the Great Binding Law;
    • ignored and disrespected the expertise of Elders and Knowledge Holders;
    • refused twice to AMC’s invitations to listen and experience the Great Binding through attendance at a sacred lodge (Turtle Lodge in Sakgeeng First Nation);
    • unilaterally imposed a hearing process based on western legal systems despite explicit objections from AMC; and
    • significantly limited participant’s ability to effectively participate in the public hearing process and denied AMC its right to be meaningfully heard.
  • Canada unilaterally imposed a consultation process on First Nations that failed to live up to Canada’s obligations under UNDRIP, its honour of the Crown, and section 35 of the Constitution.
  • Canada completely failed to obtain free, prior and informed consent relating to Enbridge Line 3.
  • Despite the AMC’s active participation in the NEB process, Canada’s Order-­‐in-­‐Council did not address the relationship between The Great Binding Law and the Western legislative framework. Both the NEB Report and the Consultation Report are also silent on this relationship.

Grand Chief Nepinak concluded “the honour of the Crown, nation-‐to-­nation relationships and UNDRIP, all requires Canada to: acknowledge that the Great Binding Law exists, respect Indigenous laws as equal, and understand that the Great Binding Law must be heard in ceremony, sacred lodges, and in Indigenous languages. It is unfortunate we have to go to Court when there clearly is no political will with the current federal government to live up to Prime Minister Trudeau’s comment that no other relationship is as important as the one with indigenous people in Canada.”

For more information please contact:
AMC Communications