“The court agreed with the Treaty 8 First Nations that the issue of whether the question of infringement of Treaty rights is properly before the court [and] is best heard at the judicial review itself,” writes Rana in an email.
She says the judge made this ruling because the Crown “did not meet the high threshold for striking out pleadings in applications for judicial review.”
The motion to strike is essentially the Crown disputing that certain parts of the First Nations’ argument have no basis to be heard by the judge in July.
Doig River First Nation, Prophet River First Nation, West Moberly First Nation and the McLeod Lake Indian Band says the Site C dam will have significant adverse effects on the environment and on the traditional land use of the Treaty 8 First Nations.
The group also says the government’s decision disregarded relevant findings of the Joint Review Panel and did not adequately consider the infringement of the First Nations’ Treaty rights that will result if the project proceeds.
The federal government nevertheless wants the project to proceed.
The First Nations group will head back to Federal Court in July to have their case against Site C approval heard.