Posting as per request from FIPA INM communications
No trade or investment deal in recent memory has attracted so much opposition in Canada – and for good reason. No investment treaty since North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) poses a greater threat to the environment, public health, First Nations and basic notions of democracy. If the FIPPA is ratified, China-based corporations will be able to directly challenge local, provincial and federal policies that interfere with their “right” to make a profit from energy, mining or other controversial projects. Canadian firms will have the same “right” in China, which will have a direct impact on human rights and environmental protections in that country also.
The Hupacasath First Nation is doing all of us a great service by challenging the FIPPA with China. Their legal battle will put Canada’s FIPPAs on trial and shine an important light on how trade and investment pacts undermine democracy in Canada and around the world. You and I need to help the Hupacasath however we can.
ATTENTION: GET YOUR RESERVE TO GET INTERVENOR STATUS, IN SUPPORT OF FIPPA CHINA DEAL NOT GETTING RATIFIED.
For those who do not know, Brenda Sayers is the spokesperson for the Hupacasath First Nation of Port Alberni, B.C. The Hupacasath are a small First Nation of 280 people. On January 18, 2013, the Hupacasath filed in the Federal Court of Canada their Notice of an Intention to apply for an injunction against the federal government to prevent them from ratifying the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA) with China. They have since filed the application. The basis of their application is that the government failed to honour its constitutionally mandated duty under section 35 of the Constitution Act to consult with First Nations peoples, the Métis and the Inuit when it negotiated ...the FIPPA with China. Several other organizations or Band Councils have also filed for Intervener status, which means they can file Affidavits in support of the Hupacasath.
Here is what Brenda and I talked about:
Brenda is the spokesperson for the Hupacasath regarding this application. She is very happy to hear of support for Hupacasath from Treaty 7 / Calgary people.
The Band Council has retained a Vancouver law firm that specializes in Aboriginal Law, Underhill, Boies, Parker Law Corporation. Their address is: 440-355 Burrard St., Vancouver, B.C. V6C 2G8. The lead counsel is Mark Underhill.
There is a case management meeting on Thursday, March 21, 2013 involving the Hupacasath legal team, lawyers for the feds and a Federal Court judge. Among other things, they will be deciding on dates for hearing the application. As I’d said, there are several groups or First Nation band councils seeking Intervener status. The federal lawyers are objecting. This is to be expected. The judge however will undoubtedly rule that the other FN band councils do have the right to be heard on this application as FIPPA affects their rights too. The date of the hearing could be as early as late April.
The legal costs are estimated to be $75,000, which is why it is imperative to start fund-raising now. The Council of Canadians is raising funds through its site. There’s also a page available through Causes. Finally, anyone wishing to donate by cheque can do so by making it payable to, Underhill, Boies, Parker Law Corporation in Trust.
The cost of around $150 is the fee for filing the intervenor paperwork with the federal court. The cost to put together an affidavit is much more and would be based on the lawyer's hourly billable rate, which is much more than $150 an hour. Since the issue is the same for all First Nations, Metis and Inuit, which is the failure of the federal government to discuss in a meaningful way the parts of FIPPA that affect First Nations/Metis/Inuit rights (by extension, the rights of all Canadians), it would make sense for various band councils that wanted to get intervenor status to join together and split costs for a single application as opposed to everyone doing their own thing.
Written by Brian Seaman, Human Rights Lawyer
FIPA CHINA DEAL COMMUNICATIONS
There are 1.6 million First Nation, Metis, and Inuit and if we all pull together and get intervenor status for FIPA China Deal and Omnibus Bills this increases are chances of winning in the courts.
If band council wish not to get involved, speak with the elders and get a petition going and as long as it is a majority, this will be good enough to get an intervener status. In the works: YouTube Video and tryin to get Brian on APTN. He is in the process of getting us a lawyer for our use nation-wide: cheaper and more organized. Then we know on our side how many FN groups are in support of this application.