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First Nation urges B.C. not to appeal landmark ruling on development, treaty rights

Click to play video: 'First Nations and governments still trying to fully comprehend the impact of landmark B.C. Supreme Court ruling' First Nations and governments still trying to fully comprehend the impact of landmark B.C. Supreme Court ruling
The decision means governments can not authorize development projects that violate inherent rights promised under Treaty 8. In the immediate future, it's raised uncertainty about the massive Site C project. Ted Chernecki has the latest. – Jul 8, 2021

The chief of a British Columbia First Nation that won a landmark court case over development in its territory called on the provincial government to recognize the rights set out in the ruling on Thursday.

Chief Marvin Yahey of the Blueberry River First Nations says industrial development without regard for the nation’s treaty rights has been going on for decades.

Read more: Court rules B.C. violated First Nation’s treaty rights in precedent-setting case

The court found the provincial government breached the Treaty 8 agreement signed with the Blueberry River First Nations more than 120 years ago because it allowed development such as forestry and natural gas extraction without the community’s approval.

Click to play video: 'Landmark legal ruling could impact resource development projects across B.C.' Landmark legal ruling could impact resource development projects across B.C.
Landmark legal ruling could impact resource development projects across B.C – Jul 7, 2021

Yahey says if the provincial government was truly committed to reconciliation, it would not appeal the B.C. Supreme Court ruling that found the province failed in its treaty promise to maintain the nation’s rights to hunt, fish and trap without interference.

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READ MORE: Supreme Court rules feds do not have to consult Indigenous groups when making laws

The trial heard that over 84 per cent of Blueberry territory is within 500 metres of an industrial disturbance, and Yahey says while they aren’t against development in their territory, they want to be consulted.

A spokeswoman for B.C.’s Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation says in a statement that it is reviewing the ruling, and will be reaching out to the First Nation to discuss the next steps.

 

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