Donald Wesley

6d9c86_cae4eecfeb264be59bfe58318fa6992eOn July 26th 2017, the Federal application for judicial review brought by Yahaan, Donald Wesley in connection with governmental decisions made in the PETRONAS/ Pacific Northwest Partnership Lelu island development was dismissed. By the time it was made, however, this, once portentous Federal court ruling, was moot as PETRONAS had pulled the plug on its 36 billion dollar project just the day before. The decision by the Justice Robert Barnes, which was reported in the Northern View, was based on his finding that the applicant lacked standing to represent the Gitwilgyoots Tribe. In his judgment, he said, “Yahaan failed to produce evidence of community support” and that “what evidence there is suggests that he is opposed by a substantial number of Gitwilgyoots members,” Wesley had argued that the federal government did not properly consult with him as a one of the nine tribes of the Coast Tsimshian Nation, thereby invalidating the environmental assessment, in which such consultation is mandated. He had asserted that this flawed assessment led to a consequently flawed and invalid Federal approval of the Petronas LNG project in 2016. The judge found that Wesley was not “an appropriate person to act in a representative capacity” because, amongst other reasons, he had failed to prove both his leadership claim and his authority to launch the court proceeding on behalf of the Gitwilgyoots. As such the decision seems not to touch on the larger questions of the standing of a First Nation tribe vis-à-vis the Band Council in the eyes of the courts as well as of the government’s obligation to pay attention to indigenous law, as opposed to the Indian Act, in matters pertaining to the tribal and chieftan authority.

Image: https://www.laxuula.com/letter-to-prime-minister-trudeau-pnw-lng

http://www.thenorthernview.com/news/case-dismissed-over-lelu-island/

https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/fct/doc/2017/2017fc725/2017fc725.html?searchUrlHash=AAAAAQAMZ2l0d2lsZ3lvb3RzAAAAAAE&resultIndex=1

https://www.thenorthernview.com/news/tribe-or-band-a-judge-will-decide-who-represents-lelu/

 

 

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