Sounds crazy, but this was the first thing I thought of when I read the Canadian Supreme Court’s ruling on the Red Chris mine in northern BC today. What does this mining ruling have to do with Harriet Nahanee, the elder Squamish woman who blockaded at Eagleridge and was sent to prison? Lots. If this ruling had been in place when the Eagleridge Bluffs Coalition tried to stop the destruction at Eagleridge by applying for a judicial stay, Harriet Nahanee may never have been sent to prison where she caught pneumonia and would probably be alive today.
On what do I base my assumptions? The Supreme Court has ruled that any environmental assessment done prior to any kind of development must be done comprehensively by both the province and the federal government, that it can not be done “in bits and pieces” as Lara Tessaro of Ecojustice Canada said today. Which was exactly how the environmental assessment at Eagleridge Bluffs was done, in bits and pieces. By this I mean the company (Kiewitt Sons Co) and the Gordon Campbell government in a public private partnership, only submitted one third of the area to be assessed before starting the job of dismantling Eagleridge. When the Eagleridge Bluffs Coalition asked for a stay until the entire assessment could be done on the whole project Mr. Justice Grist said no, one third was good enough. And that’s what happened to Eagleridge Bluffs. This new ruling is not all sweet song, as the horrific damage planned for the Red Chris mine operation in northern BC will go ahead. But at least this one, if we are reading the ruling correctly, will be the last push through by corporations and public private partnerships in BC ( hopefully other provinces as well) without any real, whole, comprehensive environmental assessments. What has come over the Supreme Court of Canada? Are they smoking something, or are they truly becoming a Supreme Court of the people? This is two rulings in roughly two weeks that smacks of sensitivity to citizens and the environment. Harriet, what do you make of this?