(Vancouver, May 10, 2016) – The Supreme Court of BC has ruled the Province of BC and Northern Gateway must pay $230,000 in court costs to the Coastal First Nations (CFN) and Gitga’at First Nation.
“We are very pleased with the decision,” said CFN Chair Kelly Russ. “The decision is a victory for the tireless work of our leaders and our Gitgaat community in the fight to protect the waters, lands and resources in the Great Bear Rainforest.”
In the ruling Madam Justice Koenigsberg stated that “the public interest test has been met and that the issues in this case involve matters that are “truly exceptional” and of “significant and widespread societal impact.” She further ruled that “the petitioners represent a significant segment of the BC and central coast population, all of whom have a interest in the Province meeting its obligation to them to do all it can to protect the environment, while advancing the economic interests of the Province.”
The court cost ruling comes out of a January 2016 decision after the BC Supreme Court found the BC government abdicated its statutory duties and breached its duty to consult with the Gitga’at First Nation when it signed and failed to terminate an Equivalency Agreement that handed the federal National Energy Board (NEB) sole jurisdiction over the environmental assessment decision-making regarding Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project.
“This ruling is a win for the Gitga’at Nation and all First Nations who are directly impacted by resource extraction and transportation proposals,” said Arnold Clifton, Chief Councillor of the Gitga’at First Nation. “It’s also a message to project proponents that consultation must be between the Crown and a First Nation and that duty to consult and protect cannot be transferred to third party interest groups. We are appreciative of the support given by Coastal First Nations in bringing this case forward.”
Chair of the Coastal First Nations
Gitga’at First Nation