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First Nations group goes to Supreme Court in protest of pipeline

Last Updated Nov 21, 2015 at 9:04 am EDT

Protesters demonstrate against the National Energy Board public hearings on Enbridge's Line 9 oil pipeline. October 18th, 2013. (Mark Blinch/Canadian Press)

A local band councillor is part of a group taking the federal government to the Supreme Court to stop an Enbridge pipeline.

The Chippewas of the Thames are mounting the challenge, saying the pipeline violates Canada’s constitution.

Band Councillor Myeengun Henry says under the constitution, there’s a duty to consult First Nations peoples, but the government instead chose to allow the National Energy Board to consult with them on their behalf.

“Our argument is that they’re not the government, and we need to have a nation to nation relationship with the government in their duty to consult,” says Henry.

“We don’t think it’s adequate that they can move that over to a third party.”

The group is concerned about the crude oil pipeline’s environmental impact. Henry says he thinks they have a landmark case.

“This decision will have an impact on other decisions throughout Canada — the Keystone project [and] the Kinder Morgan project [are] looking to this to deal with First Nation issues where pipelines are of concern,” Henry says.

He adds that it’s about more than just upholding constitutional rights; he hopes more people will see the importance of this issue for everyone.

“First Nations have always been responsible for the land, and we’ll go to these extremes to protect our Mother, the Earth. If we have to take the court system as a measure, then we’ll do that, even at the expense that it’s going to be,” he says.

The Line 9 pipeline runs through Ontario and Quebec and passes over the Grand River, just south of Cambridge.