After the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the government’s approval to build the Trans Mountain expansion project on the morning of Thursday, August 30, BC Premier John Horgan and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson have both weighed in on the decision.
Speaking at a short press conference in Victoria, Horgan said the case has always been about First Nations rights and the assertion by the Tsleil-Waututh “that the [National Energy Board] process was flawed and did not take into consideration their rights and title.”
Horgan said BC “entered this appeal late in the day, after being sworn in last summer and we did so to support the Tsleil-Waututh, but also, when you’re an intervenor, of course you have to add to the argument.”
Horgan said his government put forth the arguments in good faith, and though “they were not supported today by the Supreme Court, but the substance of the case was.”
What that means for BC, he furthered, “is that our coast is considered to be an integral part of the decision-making process and that marine traffic was not adequately assessed by the NEB, or by the ordering council to proceed with Kinder Morgan.”
Horgan said today’s decision is a great day for the Tsleil-Waututh and that “those in BC who have been saying for many years now that the National Energy Board process was flawed and that the consequences of a spill were significant, have been vindicated.”
Asked if the project was dead in his mind, Horgan responded that “certainly it’s something that will no longer be top of mind for British Columbians.”
“We’ll be able to focus on the things that our citizens want us to focus on – housing, affordability, and making sure that we’re creating jobs and skilled training positions for the next generation of workers.”
Vancouver Mayor expresses support
In a statement, Robertson said the “double-whammy decision” against the Trans Mountain Pipeline “validates the strong concerns of the City of Vancouver… that Indigenous peoples were not adequately consulted – and marine impacts of oil tankers were ignored – in the federal review pipeline approval.”
Thursday’s decision, he said, “is a monumental win for the rights of Indigenous peoples and all of us who stand with them in firm opposition to a project that would massively increase climate pollution and put our coast at huge risk of oil spills.”
BC Green leader applauds decision
Both Horgan’s and Robertson’s sentiments were echoed by BC Green Party leader, Andrew Weaver.
“Today’s ruling is a victory for First Nations’ rights and for all those who have long held that this project was not approved based on evidence,” he said. “I am particularly glad to see the court’s judgement that there was an unjustifiable failure at the heart of the federal government’s approval of this project: the failure to assess the impacts of marine shipping on the environment.”
Weaver added that with BC coming off the two worst wildfire seasons in the province’s recent history, “it’s clear that we cannot continue down the misguided path of expanding fossil fuel infrastructure. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to begin the immediate transition to the low-carbon economy.”