Strategic. Game-changing. And cheap at twice the price.

Strategic. Game-changing. And cheap at twice the price. r1 ...


Who gets to regulate the flow of bitumen through boundary-traversing pipelines: the province or the federal government? That’s been the question at the heart of the prosaically-named “Bitumen Reference” case that, after being dismissed by the Federal Court of Appeals, is now set to be heard before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Maybe, though, that question isn’t broad enough. In this era of reconciliation and ‘nation-to-nation’ relations, why shouldn’t First Nations have a say in how risky oil transits through their unceded territories?

This is why the Haida, Heiltsuk, and Little Shuswap Nations filed for intervenor status with the Supreme Court of Canada this week.

Here’s a chance for Indigenous Nations to weigh in on the age-old Canadian squabble over the division of powers between the provinces and the feds. Arguing in support of British Columbia’s right to limit the transport of dirty oil, these Indigenous Nations are also emphasizing their rights as sovereign Nations and asserting Indigenous jurisdiction over the environment.

If their intervenor status is approved, three Indigenous Nations will be getting rare access to the Supreme Court to bring home the message that as an order of government, they also have jurisdictional powers over the flow of tar sands oil through their territories. Even more broadly, their arguments address the urgent need to broaden Canada’s “cooperative federalism” approach to include Indigenous law-making and Indigenous governments.

Lawyers, excited about the impacts of a Supreme Court ruling on future Indigenous legal cases, will be working pro-bono: all the Nations need to raise is the filing fee of $8k.To put it plainly: the bitumen reference is a really cheap way for Nations to get their message in to the highest court in the land.

We know many of you donate monthly, and are so grateful to the flood of people who have given recently to support our Pull Together, Tsilhqot'in and Heiltsuk campaigns. If you have given recently: thank you. If you are in a position to do more, can you pitch in to this Intervention Fund and help get Indigenous voices to the Supreme Court?

“As this Court wrestles with the concept of reconciliation with the Indigenous Nations of Canada, it will need to deal with the question of the inter-relationship between the unceded sovereignty of Indigenous Nations within Canada over their peoples and their territories on one hand and the sovereignty of Her Majesty the Queen (...) on the other. Accordingly, it is all the more important to have Indigenous Nations before the (Supreme) Court when addressing jurisdictional issues over matters that may be subject to Indigenous jurisdiction or laws.” - from the Little Shuswap Notice of Motion

The bitumen case throws another legal hurdle in the path of the Trans Mountain pipeline, as a win for the province of B.C. would potentially allow limits to be placed on what kind of oil, and what quantity, could pass from Alberta to BC tidewater.

Thank you for your support,

Ana Simeon and the RAVEN team

p.s. Acting as intervenors in existing court cases brought by governments or corporations is a powerful way for First Nations to bring Indigenous interests, concerns and perspectives before the courts without the burden of filing their own case. Help cover the filing costs today.

Facebook Twitter Website Facebook Twitter Link Website Copyright © 2019 RAVEN, All rights reserved.
You signed up on our website or donated to one of our fundraising campaigns.

Our mailing address is:
RAVEN509 - 620 View StreetVictoria, BC V8W 1J6 Canada

Login Form