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A small First Nation on Vancouver Island has filed documents...

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
30
Issue: 
11
Year: 
2013

A small First Nation on  Vancouver Island has filed documents in federal court to stop the ratification of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act. Hupacasath band councillor Brenda Sayers said the federal government did not consult with First Nations despite the fact that Chinese investors would control resources and other assets on 232,000 hectares of unceded Aboriginal territory. Sayers said extraction of resources by foreign firms would strip negotiating powers for First Nations such as hers, which are involved in the treaty process. “Some modern treaties negotiated with British Columbia and Canada address Canada’s obligation to consult prior to entering into international agreements which may affect treaty rights,” the notice of application says. “The government proceeded without any input from First Nations, or Canadians for that matter, so this isn’t just a First Nations fight. It just so happens that First Nations are one of the parties that can stop the FIPPA,” Sayers said. “The other party is the premiers of each province who have not stepped up to the plate.” The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) and Serpent River First Nation in Ontario were quick to lend their support. In a press release, they announced they had filed an affidavit in support of the application. They said they have “reasonable grounds to believe that the FIPPA, if ratified and implemented, will have serious negative effects on First Nations’ Treaty and other rights.” Said Serpent River Chief Isadore Day, ““In the wake of the #IdleNoMore movement taking place throughout the world, I am particularly pleased that we are able to undertake a specific action to uphold First Nations’ Treaty rights.”

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