Aboriginal Law Report
By Bruce McIvorWe've decided to start a regular summary of Aboriginal law news. Here's our update for the week ending September 13, 2015.
In the News
The most prominent news of the week was the two-day summit between B.C. Chiefs and Premier Clark to discuss implementation (or the Province's non-implementation) of the 2014 Supreme Court of Canada Tsilhqot'in decision.
The meeting started with Indigenous leaders declaring it was time for the B.C. government to either step-up and get serious or face the consequences. It ended with the Province supposedly expressing support for a First Nation drafted reconciliation agreement.
- B.C. aboriginal leaders decry government relationship in open letter
- Vaughn Palmer: B.C. First Nations summit a reminder of stalled treaty process
- Smyth: When it comes to First Nations, B.C. gov’t prefers deals over courts
- Chiefs threaten courts and barricades without a signed working agreement in B.C.
- B.C. First Nations chiefs to approve reconciliation road map, but ride bound to be bumpy
- BC's Hard Hat Premier Builds Faulty First Nation Bridges
The other big news was the B.C. Environmental Appeal Board's decision (see below) to overturn a fracking company's licence to use water in Treaty 8 territory.
- Les Leyne: Fracking decision an advance in consultation
- B.C. First Nation gets Nexen fracking water licence overturned
- Water licence for northeast B.C. fracking operation cancelled
Differing approaches to development on Indigenous lands also continued to make the news.
- Doig River First Nation aims to benefit from LNG while protecting its land
- Potential pipeline clash worries First Nation Chief in B.C.
Quote of the week goes to Grand Chief Stewart Phillip: "reconciliation is not for wimps.”
From the Courts
As discussed above, the B.C. Environmental Appeal Board overturned a fracking company's licence to use water in Treaty 8.
Fort Nelson First Nation v. British Columbia, B.C. Environmental Appeal Board, September 3, 2015.
The Nuu-chah-nulth justification trial resumed at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver after its summer break with the federal government estimating that it will require approximately another 50 trial days to put in its case. The federal government is attempting to justify its infringement of the First Nations' commercial fishing right (Ahousaht Indian Band and Nation v. Canada, BCCA 2011 237).
Off the Bookshelf
"Wherever we live, we are living on lands the sovereignty and jurisdiction of which are in the hands of Indigenous peoples."
Michael Asch, On Being Here to Stay: Treaties and Aboriginal Rights in Canada (2014)