The Hupacasath First Nation is headed back to court to try and keep the federal government from ratifying the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion Protection Act (FIPPA).
Tribal officials filed an appeal with the Federal Court of Appeals and expected the Crown to file by March 17.
“This is an incredibly important case for First Nations. FIPPA could have serious impacts on our rights, title and resources,” Hupacasath spokesperson Brenda Sayers said.
The tribe is appealing for two reasons, Sayers said. One, that Chief Justice Paul S. Crampton didn’t fully comprehend the impact FIPPA would have on the Hupacasath’s right to self-government. And two, that the court set the bar too high when setting the legal test that would determine when the duty to consult with First Nations is triggered.
The definition of resource extraction is very different under Canadian domestic and international laws. “No court has ever ruled on when and how the Canadian government is required to consult with First Nations on international treaties,” Sayers said.
The Canada-China investor protection deal was finalized in September 2012. It protects and promotes Canadian investment abroad through legally binding provisions.
The agreement contains sections that interfere with governments’ policies around the environment and resource extraction, something that greatly troubles Sayers.
In Hupacasath territory, the fallout could arise if the tribe didn’t want resources extracted from a sacred tribal site.
If China had an interest in a logging company that wanted to log a tribal sacred site the tribe would oppose it. Under terms of the agreement China could then sue Canada for loss of revenue.
The case puts Canada and foreign companies on notice that First Nations rights and title better be respected, Hupacasath Chief Councillor Steven Tatoosh said.
“We don’t want Chinese companies having more rights than individual Hupacasath citizens in our own territory,” he said.