The Supreme Court of Canada will release its decision in the Minister of Forests vs. Council of the Haida Nation case one week from today, on Thursday, Nov. 18.
The case, also known as “TFL 39”, will have far-reaching implications for First Nations, governments and industry. It ended up in the Supreme Court earlier this year after the provincial government and Weyerhaeuser Co. appealed a BC Court of Appeal decision. That decision said that both the crown and third parties like Weyerhaeuser have a duty to consult First Nations about their activities and seek workable accommodations with them.
“It will be very exciting,” said lawyer Stuart Rush, who represents the village of Port Clements, one of the interveners in the case. “The decision is very significant in terms of the concrete effects it will have.”
Mr. Rush said he believes the Supreme Court will uphold the BC Court of Appeal decision.
The decision will have particular impact in BC, where for the most part treaties have never been signed, he said. However, it will also have varying effects in the rest of Canada.
“Obviously, because it arises out of particular circumstances on Haida Gwaii, it has particular application to Haida Gwaii,” Mr. Rush said, noting that the case has been twinned with one involving the Taku River Tlingit and a mining company’s road project. “But the decision clearly applies to all similar situations in BC.”
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