Last Real Indians
Kinder-Morgan’s application for approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion (TMX) has been bouncing around in Canada’s federal courts like a pinball since 2013. First Nations tribes and environmental groups have valiantly worked the flippers of the judicial pinball machine for years, filing lawsuits and appeals, to keep that shiny ball from rolling down the drain of approval. But on July 2, down it went when the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) denied three First Nations leave to appeal the decision of a lower court.
The fight lasted so long and cost so much that Kinder-Morgan, the pipeline’s original owner, wound up selling the whole thing to Canada in 2018. As a result, the Canadian government was in the dubious position of reviewing an application for a pipeline that they themselves owned. Not surprisingly, the pipeline expansion was approved and now that approval cannot be appealed. Imagine that.
So in an era in which Canada has supposedly made a commitment to reconciliation with First Nations people, how has this decision rendered the government’s policy of consultation and accommodation with them?