Court rejects First Nation case against Canada-China investment treaty

A federal court judge has dismissed an application from a small British Columbia aboriginal band trying to stop the Canada-China free trade deal.

VANCOUVER — A federal court judge has dismissed an application from a small British Columbia aboriginal band trying to stop the Canada-China free trade deal.

The judge found that the Hupacasath did not establish that the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with China will have adverse impacts on their aboriginal or self-government rights, and they will not get the judicial review they were seeking.

“On the contrary, I am satisfied that the adverse impacts which (the band) has identified are speculative, remote and nonappreciable,” Chief Justice Paul S. Crampton wrote in the ruling posted on the court website Tuesday.

Ratification of the treaty does not contravene the Crown’s duty to consult, he wrote.

Signed almost a year ago, the deal has provisions similar to 24 other foreign investment pacts Canada has signed since 1989, including the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Mexico. The Hupacasath First Nation, a community of about 300 people near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, launched the court action saying the federal government failed to consult the band on a deal that could affect their rights and title.

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