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A Canadian federal judge quashed a cabinet order to block the expansion of an Alberta coal mine in the pursuit of climate action. Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson failed in his duty to consult a First Nation that supported the mine as a job creator, the Federal Court ruled, citing no consultation efforts with Ermineskin Cree Nation. Wilkinson in a July 30, 2020 order halted the expansion of Coalspur Mines Ltd.’s Vista Mine near Hinton, Alberta that would produce a total of ten million tonnes of coal a year entirely on their territorial lands. Justice Henry Brown wrote that Indigenous supporters of coal mining were “inexplicably frozen out of this very one-sided process,” reports Blacklocks, adding that the Minister failed to consult with or give notice to them. The Department of Environment only spoke with First Nations as opposed to the mine, he said: “I find as a fact Ermineskin was not given an opportunity to have any input.” Lawyers representing the First Nation challenged the order as they had an agreement with the mine operator to reap the economic benefits and job creation. The cabinet order breached their Treaty rights to notice and consultation, lawyers argued.

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