OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Wednesday that the National Energy Board can fulfil the Crown's duty to consult Indigenous communities about development projects but it must be done properly. In decisions on two separate cases, the high court decided the NEB had properly consulted when reviewing a plan to expand an Enbridge pipeline between Ontario and Quebec, but that it had failed to do so when it approved seismic testing in Baffin Bay and Davis Straight.
Here's some of the reaction to the rulings:
"I'm thinking about the people in Clyde River today. They can finally breathe a sigh of relief and perhaps even dance a celebratory jig and communities across Baffin island can rest assured that those seismic companies will not blast through their waters, they will not threaten their food sovereignty and steamroll unapologetically over their rights." — Farrah Khan, arctic campaigner, Greenpeace Canada, which aided Clyde River in its legal battle against the seismic testing.
"It represents a victory not only for this community and its future but a significant and notable step forward in bringing Canadian law into line with important international human rights standards. For far too long now governments in Canada across the country and their regulatory bodies have treated consultation with Indigenous peoples as a mere formality." — Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.
"The government cannot continue to pay lip service to reconciliation and Indigenous rights while continuing to ignore the duty to consult and accommodate. It is insulting to see this government refuse, time after time, to walk the walk. They must immediately fix this broken process." — NDP Indigenous and Northern Affairs Critic Romeo Saganash.
"That will certainly make it much more difficult in the future for the NEB to green light projects like this one, projects that have the potential to prove catastrophic for the Inuit people. Yeah, they can come back again and try again. We'll be ready and we'll be waiting." — Clyde River lawyer Nader Hasan.
"The Chiefs of Ontario will continue to support the Chippewas of the Thames, and all other communities who are facing unwanted potential development on their lands. The fossil fuel industry will disappear over the next several decades, to be replaced by green energy. The real issue here is that we must preserve our lands and waters for future generations. This is the way forward in order to reverse climate change and the continued contamination of our lands, air and water. Our Peoples will continue the fight to save our planet for all our children." Chiefs of Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day.
The Canadian Press