Inuit org: Clyde River court defeat “not the end of the story”
QIA: NEB’s 2014 decision “effectively denies Inuit of our right to meaningful consultation”
Despite the appeal court defeat Clyde River suffered Aug. 17 in its attempt to block a seismic testing project off the east coast of Baffin Island, the National Energy Board decision to allow that test still breaches an Inuit Aboriginal right, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association said Aug. 19.
The QIA issued the statement in reaction to a Federal Court of Appeal decision released Aug. 18 upholding a permit the NEB issued June 26, 2o14 to MKI, the consortium that will run the five-year seismic scheme.
In that judgment, the appeal court said the NEB fulfilled the Crown’s obligation to consult Aboriginal people.
But the QIA disagrees.
“QIA continues to agree with the Hamlet of Clyde River and the local Hunters and Trappers Organization (HTO) that the NEB decision of June 2014 to permit seismic surveying effectively denies Inuit of our right to meaningful consultation prior to such activity being undertaken,” the QIA statement said.
And QIA said the appeal court decision is “not the end of the story,” which suggest they’re willing to take more action on the file.
Clyde River mayor Jerry Natanine and Clyde River’s lawyer, Nader Hasan, have already said they’ll seek leave from the Supreme Court of Canada to appeal the federal court’s decision.
Hasan told Nunatsiaq News April 18 that they will argue that the Crown cannot delegate its fiduciary duty to consult Aboriginal people to a private entity like MKI, which the NEB appears to have done in this case.
“They are private industry. They have their own interests. They have no fiduciary duty to Inuit and aboriginal peoples. They have their duties to their shareholders. So the proponents can’t discharge the duty to consult,” Hasan told Nunatsiaq News.
The QIA did not state its position on the question of a Supreme Court appeal.
But they did list activities they intend to pursue in support of Inuit in the region.
• collecting Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit to create baseline data to “to assist Inuit in challenging any proposed industry activity that ignores and-or does not properly implement available Inuit IQ into project design;”
• monitoring MKI’s compliance with terms and conditions imposed on them by the NEB;
• continuing to “collect and promote IQ collection by Inuit for Inuit, with the stated purpose of avoiding control and structuring of IQ by industry on industry terms rather than on Inuit terms.
“QIA will continue to support impacted communities, and continues to look forward to working with Inuit organizations such as the Clyde River HTO and hamlet council in order to coordinate the various ways that continue to be available to QIA and its partners for supporting Inuit,” QIA said.
MKI plans a five-year seismic testing scheme in Davis Strait and Baffin Bay to map the seabed for potential hydrocarbon resources.
The consortium of three Norwegian companies would sell the data afterwards to anyone wishing to buy it, such as oil and gas exploration firms.
The project was supposed to start in summer 2015, but MKI has postponed it for at least one year.
The plan, which would involve dragging an air-gun array behind a ship that emits loud explosive blasts into the ocean, met with immediate condemnation from communities such as Clyde River and Pond Inlet.