Early this morning, The Supreme Court of Canada handed down their judgement on First Nations lands/treaty rights, expanding on them. The decision was unanimous!
"The right to control the land conferred by Aboriginal title means that governments and others seeking to use the land must obtain the consent of the Aboriginal title holders,” the court said in an 8-0 ruling written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. “If the Aboriginal group does not consent to the use, the government’s only recourse is to establish that the proposed incursion on the land is justified” under the Constitution.For those of you wondering why this is such a victory..This ruling means that any pipeline that has to go through First Nations lands must consult with the band holding the title to that land.
There are, however some lands without clear title. Many First Nations land claims have been held up in court for years.
The court said that where title is asserted but has not yet been established, the government needs to consult with the aboriginal group in question and accommodate it where appropriate. But once aboriginal title is established, and the aboriginal group refuses to consent to an incursion on its lands, government would have to prove an important public purpose and fulfill its duties of trust and care towards the aboriginal people, before a project can go ahead.BC First Nations are adamantly against any pipeline going through any of their lands and have vowed to fight Enbridge all the way in court, bringing as many cases as necessary to assert their rights.
What this means to Enbridge?
" YOU CANNOT PASS"...so eat my shorts!