Supreme Court loss pushes Athabasca Chipewyan FN towards Sovereignty Summer campaign – Idle No More

Tarsands.jpgAPTN National News
EDMONTON--The chief of an Alberta First Nations battling a tar sands expansion on its territory says he is considering joining Idle No More’s call for a “Sovereignty Summer” campaign after the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed its case.

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation went to the Supreme Court with a section 35 Constitutional challenge in hopes of forcing a regulatory review board to rule on whether there had been adequate consultation on Shell’s bid to expand its Jackpine tarsands project.

The First Nation turned to the courts after having its challenge were turned down by the Alberta Court of Appeal.

As is its practice, the Supreme Court gave no reasons as to why it refused to hear the Athabasca Chipewyan’s case.

Chief Allan Adam said the ruling leaves his First Nation with little options. With plans for an Idle No More-Defenders of the Land Sovereignty Summer campaign of direct action in the works, Adam said it may be the route his First Nation will have to take.

“It is more than likely that it will probably head in that direction,” said Adam. “What else do you have left and if you are backed into a corner what do you do.”

Adam said the First Nation is also considering taking legal action against the province of Alberta.

“It puts the onus back on the province,” he said. “The province has to answer to our concerns.”

The case dates back to October 2012 when the First Nation launched a constitutional challenge asking the Joint Review Panel to rule on whether the Crown had consulted enough on Shell’s application. The First Nation argued that the expansion would impact its treaty and aboriginal rights to hunt, fish and trap.

The panel ruled later that month it didn’t have the jurisdiction to hear the challenge and then denied a motion by the First Nation to adjourn the hearings. The First Nation then went to the Alberta Court of Appeal, but had its application for appeal dismissed.

The First Nation then turned to the Supreme Court in January.

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