Community groups and local First Nations have been fighting to keep Jumbo Valley wild for more than two decades. But in spite of fierce opposition on the ground, the Government of British Columbia has pulled out all the stops to enable the development of the proposed Jumbo Glacier ski resort.
The resort would significantly and irrevocably impact the local environment. It is an area sacred to the Ktunaxa people, known as Qat’muk — home of the Grizzly Bear Spirit — since time immemorial. So, when Ecojustice lawyers heard that the Ktunaxa were taking their fight to protect Qat’muk all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, we wanted to do everything we could to help.
We started working with Amnesty International Canada to see how our combined expertise could support the Ktunaxa and help advance protection of Indigenous rights in Canada. And last week the Court granted their application for intervener status!
This means Ecojustice lawyers, acting on behalf of Amnesty International Canada, will present the Court with valuable insight on the effect Canada’s international law commitments have on rights guaranteed under the Canadian Charter — including religious freedom.
We know firsthand that the perspectives of interveners can be a game-changer at the Supreme Court level. From upholding the right of citizens to launch environmental class actions to ensuring they have the right to hold government to account when it violates the law, Ecojustice’s intervener work has contributed to powerful legal precedents that protect people and the planet.
Ecojustice’s dedicated team is already hard at work preparing legal submissions for what will be a historic Supreme Court hearing. It is time for Canada’s guarantee of religious freedom to reflect prevailing international law norms that protect Indigenous rights and spiritual beliefs in the face of land development.