Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi at a press conference in Ottawa. Screencap courtesy of CPAC

The federal government will not appeal the Federal Court of Appeal decision that quashed the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

The decision, announced by natural resources minister Amarjeet Sohi at a press conference on Oct. 3, comes two weeks after the government ordered the National Energy Board (NEB) to reconsider its recommendation to approve the expansion, specifically taking into consideration increased tanker traffic caused by the project.

We have decided to follow the guidance from the Federal Court of Appeal,” Sohi said. "We believe that we can and must move forward by engaging in meaningful and focused consultation with Indigenous groups on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.”

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As part of her decision for the three-judge court, Justice Eleanor Dawson ruled that in the third phase of Indigenous consultation, the government’s duty to consult with First Nations was not “adequately discharged.” At the time of the court decision, First Nations groups celebrated the verdict and expressed surprise that their arguments were heard.

In his announcement, Sohi said the government would be re-doing the third phase of consultations with the Indigenous groups affected by the expansion project by “providing a clear mandate to conduct meaningful consultation” and doubling the capacity of the government’s consultation team.

Former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci will also be joining the consultation work as a federal representative to oversee the discussions. Sohi said Iacobucci’s experience developing the Ring of Fire in Ontario and his experience as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will benefit the consultation process.

Let me be clear, we are not starting over,” Sohi said. “We are building on the relationship we have, the information we have gathered and the consultation done to date.”