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Commons committee asked: What does ‘duty to consult’ with Indigenous groups really mean?

North Island-Powell River NDP MP Rachel Blaney speaking in the House of Commons. Photo by Powell River Peak
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OTTAWA, O.N. – Opposition New Democrats say the federal government needs to better define what it means to truly consider the wishes of Indigenous communities before it launches into any new consultations over the stalled Trans Mountain pipeline project.

NDP MP Rachel Blaney has asked a Commons committee to examine why a court rejected the Trudeau cabinet’s approval of the pipeline expansion and to come up with ways to provide Canadians with more certainty around such major undertakings.

Last week the Federal Court of Appeal quashed approval for the project, citing insufficient consultation with Indigenous communities.

The Conservatives have blamed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the ruling, accusing him of relying on botched consultations to further the pipeline project, which would bring more Alberta crude to port in British Columbia for export overseas.

But the Liberals say they were relying on a consultation process used by the previous Conservative government to move the project forward.

In its decision, the court of appeal also cited the government for its failure to assess the environmental impact of more tanker traffic off the B.C. coast.

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