AFN Chief says pipeline halt a victory for First Nations

OTTAWA — Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde applauded the decision by the Federal Court of Appeal to halt construction of the Trans Mountain expansion project.

Bellegarde said in a statement that the decision is “another victory for First Nations.”

The national chief said while it’s unfortunate First Nations must litigate to protect inherent rights, title and jurisdiction — it had to be done.
“In this case, the government did not even meet the duty to consult standard as articulated by the courts,” said Bellegarde. “Our right to self-determination, inherent rights and title and Treaty rights have been affirmed as legal rights in Canada and internationally.”

Bellegarde said, “The decision confirms yet again why we need to work together on a better approach that leads to better decisions and better outcomes – an approach that implements and enforces rights and title, including free, prior and informed consent as set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is how we avoid conflict and costly legal battles and advance reconciliation. This is how we can grow a stronger country for our children.”

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