APTN National News
The country’s highest court says the National Energy board failed miserably at fulfilling its duty to consult the Inuit of Clyde River in Nunavut over proposed seismic testing near the community.
People in Clyde River fear that the testing produces loud underwater noises that will harm marine mammals.
The court sent a sharply worded message to the government and the NEB that proper consultation ahead of time is always better than asking the courts to undo it later.
“We’ve been saying we don’t want to veto this, we’re not totally against development, but it has to be done right,” said former Clyde River mayor Jerry Natanine. “Whales don’t have to die off or plankton, there’s a better way to do these things, that what we’ve gotta find out.”
In a second ruling, the Supreme Court found that the NEB did properly consult the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation about an Enbridge pipeline project expansion on its territory.
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.
The Chippewas assert treaty and title rights to the land the pipeline crosses. They feared, in part, the project could disrupt their hunting rights if there was a pipeline leak.
The NEB gave its approval of the project on March 6, 2014, with 36 conditions, and found any potential damage to Indigenous land was “likely minimal and would be appropriately mitigated.”
The cases go to the heart of how Indigenous consultation has to take place when resource development projects are proposed on their territories.
— with files from the Canadian Press