Joint News Release. August 27, 2013
(Hupacasath Territory – August 27, 2013) The Federal Court of Canada has released its judicial review, Hupacasath First Nation v. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Canada and the Attorney General of Canada, regarding the pending ratification of the Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments (FIPA).
Brenda Sayers, a representative of the Hupacasath Nation stated "We are not surprised though we are deeply disappointed with the decision as we firmly believe the FIPA will have a profound impact on our inherent Indigenous rights and for all Canadians who cherish the environmental heritage we leave for our future generations. We will work with our legal counsel and will fully explore all options available to the Hupacasath Nation. We have until the end of September to decide if the decision should be appealed, and we trust the Government of Canada will not take steps to ratify the FIPPA during that time, which would effectively deprive us of our right to appeal. We would to thank all of the organizations, First Nations and individuals who worked, supported and donated to this great effort."
The Hupacasath First Nation filed a judicial review stating the FIPA was an infringement on inherent Aboriginal Title and Rights and due to a total lack of consultation the band council was compelled to launch a challenge under Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution.
"The Union of BC Indian Chiefs refuse to accept the Government of Canada's argument that there is no 'causal link' or 'potential adverse impacts' on our constitutionally-enshrined and judicially-recognized Aboriginal rights and the ratification of FIPA. The Court wholeheartedly accepted Canada's argument. First Nations leadership across this country are facing a federal government who stated in court that they do not need to nor ever intend to ever consult any First Nation regarding any trade agreement. The Court responded this total lack of consultation 'would not contravene the principle of the honour of the Crown or Canada's duty to consult' That is absurd, unconscionable and incredibly offensive," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
The Hupacasath First Nation was supported with legal affidavits from Serpent River First Nation and the Tsawwassen First Nation along with the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the Chiefs of Ontario. As well, Leadnow.ca, the Council of Canadians, Avaaz, BC Federation of Labour, BC Teachers Federation, Canadian Auto Workers, Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union, KAIROS and ForestEthics fully supported the Hupacasath First Nation judicial review.
For further information contact:
Brenda Sayers, Hupacasath First Nation: (604) 684-0231
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: (604) 684-0231
UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.