A First Nations filing for judicial review is the latest manifestation of concern about the Canada-China investment agreement. The Harper government agreed to the FIPPA with China last year, but, following widespread public opposition, it has yet to officially ratify the deal. 

Earlier today, a press conference was convened at the Vancouver offices of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC). The organizers released the following statement. 

Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C. — On January 18, 2013, legal counsel for the Hupacasath First Nation, filed a Notice of Application with the Federal Court of Canada regarding the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA). Supporting affidavits for the application were submitted on February 15, 2013. 

Brenda Sayers, Councilor of the Hupacasath First Nation stated: “First Nations were not consulted on the Canada China FIPPA. As First Nations with our Aboriginal Title, Rights and Treaty Rights, it is our duty to intervene for the sake of our children’s futures. Our firm belief, if ratified, FIPPA will immediately affect our Title and Rights by limiting our ability to exercise Hupacasath jurisdiction in land use planning and regulation of our territory as well as our ability to fairly negotiate in the British Columbia Treaty Process.”

The Hupacasath First Nation is supported with affidavits from Serpent River First Nation and the Tsawwassen First Nation along with the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the Chiefs of Ontario. 

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the UBCIC, said, “On November 29th, 2012 the Chiefs Council of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs passed by consensus, Resolution 2012-59 which expresses our shared belief it is necessary to conduct a thorough legal review of FIPPA and its impact on First Nations.”

“Without such a review, it is difficult for many First Nations to demonstrate the specific ways in which their own Aboriginal Title, Rights and Treaty rights may be affected by an arrangement as complex and long lasting as FIPPA. To ratify the without consultation would adversely impact our rights and territories and would require us to take legal action. It is why the UBCIC fully supports the Hupacasath call for a judicial review.”