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Court Of Appeal Approves First Nation Lawsuit Against Rio Tinto Alcan

Thursday, April 16, 2015 @ 3:59 AM

Prince George, BC –  The BC Court of Appeal has decided that two BC First Nations can continue their legal action against Rio Tinto Alcan with respect to the Kenney Dam and Alcan Reservoir…

The Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nations are the holders of aboriginal title along the Nechako River, downstream of the dam.  Their legal action claimed that Rio Tinto Alcan’s operation of the dam and reservoir, and the diversion of water from the Nechako River since the 1950s, are causing significant impacts to the Nechako fisheries and harming aboriginal rights and title.

The lawsuit also argued that the 1987 and 1997 Settlement Agreements reached between Alcan and both levels of government are not defenses against the First Nations, based on constitutional grounds.  The Court agreed these arguments are valid.

“This is a significant decision in aboriginal law,” said Gregory McDade, legal Counsel for the Saik’uz and Stellat’en.  “It recognizes that First Nations have existing legal rights that are subject to protection now, and that third party industrial interests must respect those rights.”

Saik’uz First Nation Chief, Stan Thomas, said, “We are very pleased with the Court’s decision.  We intend to pursue our action for an injunction to protect the Nechako River, our fisheries and our way of life.”


Lawyers keeping lawyers and their billion dollar industry alive. Next.

Who keeps you alive jimmy?

Go First Nations Go.

So jimmy what’s you stand on the actual issue ?

Alcan has been flooding downstream for decades, every year they open spillways and all they have to do is post the info in the media.. Then about 2-3 weeks later there is a flood warning downstream.. They also sell electricity to the grid and make more money off it than making aluminum (depends on price of aluminum of course..) shutting down a pot line is common place.. Who knows what will happen once they have the new smelter up and running.
Editor’s note:
This comment has been edited to remove the derogatory remarks to another poster.
Elaine Macdonald-Meisner

” We intend to pursue our action for an injunction to protect the Nechako River, our fisheries and our way of life.”

You’re about 60 years too late there Chief.

It’s far too late to do anything to restore the damage done, but I guess its never too late to cash in.

I would like to know how money would be used;
– to “protect the river”
– to “protect the fisheries”
– to “protect our way of life”

Who pays for the legal team? (aka the only real winners)

I personally am not on the side of big business or any form of government.
My take on life is that we should all be equal to one another, and treat each other with the respect that we ourselves would like to receive.


My opinion is quite clear and succinct.
I have lived in the third world where companies like Rio Tinto pay-off much more violent third parties as simply a cost of doing business. It is a walk in the park for them in this country, I’m quite sure. It will remain business as usual, except you will see a few more Escalades driving around Kitimat in the near future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Enough of the snide and derogatory comments to each other. There have been comments in this thread that have been edited to remove slams against each other. If you would like to post a comment, stick to the issue and make your point. We don’t all agree, but healthy discussion does not start with a personal attack on the person whose opinion you do not share.
Elaine Macdonald-Meisner

Legal actions attempted before by these First Nations were denied by the courts. In view of recent court rulings the legal status of their claims is more certain than before and they are just picking up from where they were stymied before.

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