DISMISSED: Apsassin et al v. BC Oil and Gas et al

Chief Alan Apsassin, on his own behalf and on behalf of the members of the Saulteau First Nations, Petitioner, and

The British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission and Vintage Energy Canada Ltd., Respondents

[194] The Petition is dismissed.

In 2003, the Saulteau First Nations, one of the Treaty 8 nations in the northeast of British Columbia, filed a “petition” in the BC Supreme Court to quash the decision made on March 14, 2003, by the BC Oil and Gas Commission, granting Vintage Energy Canada, Ltd. to construct an exploratory well site, with associated roads and other infrastructure, in Saulteau Traditional Territory.

The case was heard by the Honorable Mr. Justice Cohen. He has dismissed the Saulteau petition in its entirety. Cohen’s decisions are in italics in the following material.

Among other things, the Saulteau were claiming that:

– the OGC does not have the authority to authorize activities which may infringe on treaty rights. [96] In my opinion, the Commission did not breach its constitutional duty or its statutory duty under the Act to consult with and accommodate the SFN.

– the OGC must consult with Saulteau prior to approving applications, to avoid infringements or justify infringements. [157] In my opinion, the SFN’s insistence that the Commission did not listen to or try to seriously accommodate their legitimate concerns is unfounded. I find that the Commission met its constitutional and fiduciary obligations to the SFN in its consideration of the Application and the Petition must be dismissed on this issue.

– the OGC must declare prior to approving applications, that treaty rights are accommodated. [158] I accept and adopt the submission of counsel for the Attorney General that the petitioner’s constitutional challenge to the Act must be dismissed.

– the OGC must consider cumulative effects of all existing, proposed and reasonably foreseeable Crown authorized activities

– where the foregoing duties are not appropriately discharge, the applicant is “impressed with an obligation” to carry out the unfulfilled duties.

[193] In the result, the petitioner’s constitutional challenge to the Commission’s governing legislation is dismissed.

[194] The Petition is dismissed.

The Decision

Comments are closed.

Send this to a friend