Anishinabek Nation stands up for First Nation rights in the fight against climate change
ANISHINABEK NATION HEAD OFFICE (March 25, 2021) – The Anishinabek Nation appeared at the Supreme Court of Canada to stand up for First Nation rights and jurisdiction in the fight against climate change. The Anishinabek Nation recently intervened before the Supreme Court of Canada in the Reference re: Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act appeal, jointly and in support of the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising. The key issue in this case was whether the matters addressed in the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act are of sufficient national concern that they fall within federal jurisdiction.
The Anishinabek Nation intervened to specifically advocate for the voices of its member First Nations and citizens. Representatives argued that climate change disproportionately affects Anishinabek communities, traditional ways of life, and the ability to assert and exercise jurisdiction in relation to environmental issues that directly impact lands and peoples. As the quality and quantity of natural resources and medicines continue to diminish with the effects of climate change, it is vital that First Nation voices are heard and that their rights are respected.
Without taking any position on the current federal regulatory carbon pricing scheme, the Anishinabek Nation asserted that where provinces are unable to effectively apply standards to address the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, the federal government must be permitted to step in and establish minimum national standards that operate as a backstop. There is no time to waste. First Nations should not be left without effective redress as a result of federal-provincial jurisdictional disputes. First Nation concerns must be heard and addressed.
The Anishinabek Nation is pleased to share that its arguments were heard and a majority of the Supreme Court of Canada has sided with the First Nation positions and upheld the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. The Court acknowledged that climate change requires immediate collective national and international action. The decision acknowledges the particularly serious effects that climate change has had on Indigenous peoples, as well as the “heightened impacts” of climate change in the Canadian Arctic, coastal regions and Indigenous territories. It is especially significant that the court recognized that climate change has the effect of “threatening the ability of Indigenous communities in Canada to sustain themselves and maintain their traditional ways of life”.