First Nations and resources…

July 28, 2017

CBC News – John Paul Tasker
Supreme Court quashes seismic testing in Nunavut, but gives green light to Enbridge pipeline – Top court delivers landmark rulings on consultation process with Indigenous Peoples over energy projects

The Supreme Court of Canada has made several rulings which impact directly on the questions around Indigenous territory and economic development.  The court ruled that the Inuit of Nunavut rightly claimed a lack of proper consultation around the disruption of seismic testing while the court also said that the Chippewa had sufficient consultation in the plan by Enbridge to reverse flow the Line 9 pipeline.  The court said: “Aboriginal rights must be balanced against “competing societal interests.”   Related article: Toronto Star – Thomas Walkom   Supreme Court makes it clear. Indigenous peoples can’t veto pipelines   Related article: Globe and Mail – Nader Hasan   SCC resource decisions do not put blind faith in the NEB   Related article:  CBC News – Chippewas must pay energy giant’s legal bills in lost court battle – Enbridge said it is reviewing the court’s decision to award costs to the oil company   CBC News – John Paul Tasker   What the Supreme Court rulings mean for pipeline proponents (it could be good news) – Trans Mountain stock price leaps after top court clarifies pipeline regulatory process

 CBC News – Kathleen Harris
Border guards fired guns 18 times in a decade — accidentally in most cases – Canada Border Services Agency data show on-duty agents drew their firearms 299 times since July 2007

Follow-up after giant controversy is not all that common but in the case of the arming of Canadian Border Services (CBSA) agents there is cause for relief.  First, since the arming, no border guards have shot or been shot.  Second, the litany of firearms incidents total 299 since 2007:  shots fired total 18; eleven are accidental discharges, six to euthanize wounded animals, one to fend off an attacking dog.  The CSBA now wants expanded arming at Canada’s airports.

Toronto Star – Tanya Talaga
 Families of murdered and missing women press inquiry to examine policing more closely

‘“Justice comes in many forms. Police accountability is number one,” said Maggie Cywink, sister of Sonya Cywink, who was slain in 1994.”’  The inquiry into the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) seems to have drifted into neutral pending the resolution of the ability of the inquiry to examine the role of police in Indigenous justice issues.  The inquiry and chair Marion Buller seem to have acquiesced to the demand in the hope that the inquiry can get on with the now expanded task but a problem still remaining is the authority of the inquiry in different provincial jurisdictions.  Related article: CBC News – Brandi Morin    A survivor’s perspective: Don’t give up on the MMIWG inquiry – ‘I am still holding onto hope for its success, in whatever form it takes.’   Related article: CBC News (SK)  – Charles Hamilton   Report on coerced sterilizations of Indigenous women spurs apology, but path forward unclear – Women speak of pressure from doctors, nurses and social workers to undergo tubal ligations

 CBC News – Murray Brewster
Military cops struggle to enforce mental health laws

A presenting case of a detailed and credible threat of suicide serves to illustrate a weakness in Canadian law.  Though military police can enforce all aspects of criminal law, federal statutes, they cannot enforce some aspects of provincial law and must rely on RCP or other local police to enforce provincial statutes around mental health.  Included in the odd but problematic circumstance are items such as provincial roadside suspensions for drunk driving.

VERA Institute for Justice (US)

The good people at Vera have been looking at issues around the imprisonment of women and have several new two reports that mark the start of a series they call “For the Record.”  The first is called The Prison Paradox: More Incarceration Will Not Make Us Safer  (Go to   (A 12 page downloadable pdf)  The second is called  Measuring Public Safety Responsibly Interpreting Statistics on Violent Crime (Go to   (a 10 page downloadable pdf)  A third report is called Overlooked: Women and Jails in an Era of Reform (Go to (A 48 page downloadable pdf)