Letter: BCAFN congratulates Tsilhqot’in Nation for winning fight

Supreme Court of Appeal denies Taseko Mines, flawed environmental assessments

Xeni Gwet'in First Nation announces a fire ban and no public access throughout the Tsilhqot'in Declared Title area within the Xeni Gwet'in Caretaker area. Xeni Gwet'in Government image.

Editor,

The BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) is congratulating the Tsilhqot’in Nation in its fight against flawed environmental assessment processes, and the protection of their lands and waters.

On Dec. 5, 2017, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed two judicial reviews brought by Taseko Mines Limited.

These cases demonstrate to industry and the Crown that flawed environmental assessment processes must be changed to fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Declaration).

Congratulations to the Tsilhqot’in Nation for their ongoing fight against Taseko Mines’ interests in destroying Teztan Biny (Fish Lake). The BCAFN is in full support of Tsilhqot’in Nation.

This is part of the critical need for First Nations to co-draft the revisions to the federal and provincial Acts regarding environmental assessments. First Nations in British Columbia are not opposed to development, but such developments must have the free, prior and informed consent of First Nations governments.

As per the BCAFN Resolution 14/2016 (Subject: Support for the Tsilhqot’in Nation and Opposition to Further Provincial Approvals for the Rejected New Prosperity Mine), which included the following clauses:

• The Chiefs in Assembly fully support the efforts of the Tsilhqot’in Nation to protect its lands of profound cultural and spiritual value to its people from the proposed New Prosperity Mine, and will stand behind the Tsilhqot’in Nation in defence of these lands regardless of any amendment process or decision by the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO), the Ministry of Energy & Mines, or British Columbia; and

• The Chiefs in Assembly condemn the EAO’s decision to consider an amendment that would approve New Prosperity, in the face of the Federal Government’s firm rejection of this proposal, and under the cloud of political pressure and threats of litigation from TML against the Province.

Regional Chief Terry Teegee

B.C. Assembly of First Nations