Friday, 12 October 2018 13:17

Heiltsuk Nation files lawsuit following Nathan E. Stewart incident

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Two years after the grounding of the articulated tug and barge, Nathan E. Stewart, in Gale Pass, the Heiltsuk Nation has filed a claim against the federal and provincial governments, as well as the operator, Kirby Corporation. The 110,000 litres spill impacted an important Heiltsuk food harvesting, village and cultural site.  The lawsuit alleges that government agencies and the operator were too slow to respond to the emergency, failing to address the impacts on the health and safety of the Heiltsuk people and their way of life.  The Heiltsuk Nation is seeking compensation for the considerable financial and administrative burden of essential traditional and scientific testing of the scope and impact of the spill. The civil claim is also asking the court to clarify whether Aboriginal title, a legal term that is used to describe the inherent Indigenous right to land or territory, also applies to the seabed and foreshore, the part of a shore between the water and developed land. Transport Canada has laid three charges against the Kirby Corporation, including two pollution-related counts.

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