Robert Janes attending May 24th, 2013 in Fort Chipewyan at Mikisew Cree First Nation community for a presentation on the importance of Treaties and Mikisew’s legal challenge to Bills C38 and C45. Other speakers included Chief Steve Courtoreille, former AFN National Chief Ovide Mercredi, representatives of the Mikisew Government and Industry Relations Office and Mikisew youth.
JFK at Questioning Phase of Northern Gateway Joint Review Hearings
On December 14, 2012, JFK lawyers Robert Janes and Virginia Mathers attended the questioning phase for the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The Joint Review Panel is reviewing Northern Gateway’s proposal to construct twin pipelines from Bruderheim, Alberta to a marine terminal in Kitimat, British Columbia, where petroleum products will be transported by tankers to international markets.
Acting on behalf of the Gitxaala First Nation, Mr. Janes cross-examined Northern Gateway’s witnesses regarding routine operations of the marine terminal and the marine shipping associated with the Project.
Mr. Janes questioned the witnesses about the fact that many of Northern Gateway’s proposed mitigation measures for the Project will be dealt with in the “design” phase of the Project. This means that Gitxaala First Nation and other groups participating in the Project’s review will not know if these proposed measures will actually be implemented until well after the Joint Review Panel process is completed. It also means that the Joint Review Panel will not be able to assess the effectiveness, cost, or operation of the mitigation measures, and that design and implementation of the measures will be left in the hands of other regulators or Northern Gateway itself. An example of this line of questioning was a detailed examination of Northern Gateway’s proposed Fisheries Liaison Committee, which Mr. Janes and a number of other examiners showed to be a largely unformed committee with unknown membership and no real power.
Another line of cross-examination was the degree to which Northern Gateway’s environmental assessment of routine operations failed to incorporate traditional knowledge or the perceptions of Aboriginal people of the risks associated with the Project. Through his questioning, Mr. Janes established that cultural, spiritual and esthetic aspects of traditional practices were not considered in the environmental assessment outside of the mitigation phase. Northern Gateway’s witness panel was very clear in its position that cultural, social, spiritual and perception values and effects were outside the scope of what they were required to assess.
Cross-examination of Northern Gateway will continue in Prince Rupert in early February, 2013, with questioning on the issue of potential oil spills.
For more information about the review of the Project, please visit the website of the Joint Review Panel.