It looks like the Haida Nation has been left out of the loop in the pending sale of TFL 39 from Weyerhaeuser to Brascan, despite the province’s obligation to consult with them.
The provincial government clearly has an obligation to talk to the Haida Nation about the sale, said lawyer Cheryl Sharvit of EAGLE, the CHN’s legal team.
“The province may argue that they no longer have to consult because they changed the legislation and companies no longer have to get Ministry of Forests’ permission for TFL transfer from one company to the other,” Ms Sharvit said. “If that is the province’s position, then they are misinterpreting the Supreme Court ruling.”
At the end of February, Weyerhaeuser announced an agreement to sell its BC coastal operations to Brascan, including operations on the islands.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in November that the province has an obligation to consult with the Haida Nation when there is a transfer of crown land from one company to another, but so far no consultation has happened.
“The ruling said the provincial power to legislate is a tool for fulfilling their obligations to aboriginal people, not for avoiding them,” said Ms Sharvit.
The transfer of a tree farm licence can lead to significant changes to the way the land is managed, said Ms Sharvit, and is also an opportunity for the province to return the land to the Haida or ensure that the licensees accommodate Haida rights.
Normally, people comply with Supreme Court rulings, said Ms Sharvit, but if the province chooses not to, the only way to enforce the ruling is through the courts in a new case initiated by the Haida.
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