He went on to lead three federal royal commissions, including one on the MacKenzie Valley Pipeline (1974-77) and another on Indian and Inuit healthcare (1979-80).
In addition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline, Coleman pointed to the $8.8-billion Site C dam (under review and threatened with cancellation by the new government), the $3.5-billion Massey Bridge (also threatened with cancellation) and the $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project.
In late July, the province's attorney general told the radio station CHNL that the government will proceed on the matter "within the laws of British Columbia and Canada, because if we don't, we'll be sued".
"It has great symbolic value".
There probably isn't a better person in the entire country to attempt to uphold that than Thomas Berger. "But at the end of the day, the basic principles at play here - the basic legal principles and doctrines - are still the same".
The new NDP government in B.C.is looking to fight the Trans Mountain pipeline project.
However, the court also recognized for the first time that aboriginal title did exist and the ruling has been said to have to laid the groundwork for land claims that followed. There's simply too much on the line, and they aren't backing away from starting work next month either.
The pipeline is essential to helping Canadian energy gain access to new markets, improving the price petroleum producers - and governments - can get for the resource. "It does not change based on a change of government, a government's approach to Indigenous relations or a government's view of any particular project".
With its approval from the National Energy Board late a year ago and endorsement under the previous BC Liberal government, Kinder Morgan has been pushing ahead in meeting outstanding conditions and getting ready for construction.
It's not packed, but it's not completely empty, either.
Provided the federal court grants the government intervener status, the government plans to argue that consultations with First Nations have not been adequate.
The announcement helps to fulfill what was pledged in the now-famous NDP-Green "confidence and supply agreement" to "immediately employ every tool available to the new government to stop the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline".
Rich Coleman, the leader of the opposition B.C. Liberals, also released a statement, saying the NDP's move "continues to drive home to investors that our province is not open for business or investment of any kind".
"The B.C. government has stopped talking about stopping the pipeline and instead they're talking about ensuring that it meets high standards", said Notley at the Enbridge media event.
"We know with the federal government's approval of this project, that the path forward will be challenging", he said.
"Our job is to defend B.C.'s economic interests". "He is a living example of modern First Nations law in Canada".
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers industry group said British Columbia was "not unreasonable" in protecting its interests. "Some of the tools that were available to B.C. previously were given away from the previous government". Such rights were included after Mr. Berger's remarks.
"I think that's starting to fall apart now", he added.
In other words, the government's chief legal expert doesn't see it as a viable option to attempt to delay or kill the regulatory process by slowing things down.
As Heyman conceded, there are constitutional limits to what B.C. can do in this fracas.
In Vancouver, a protest against the pipeline expansion last November saw 4,000 people march through the streets with the support of Mayor Gregor Robertson.