The Supreme Court of Canada ruling last week means the province is going to have problems acting as the court ordered, according to Guujaaw, president of the Council of the Haida Nation.
“There is so little authority left to the province, they won’t be able to deliver on the consultation and accommodation,” he told the Observer in a telephone interview Monday morning.
Guujaaw says Liberal government policies over the last five years have transferred authority to companies such as Weyerhaeuser, through the results-based forest practices code, for example, leaving the province without the tools to consult and accommodate Haida interest as required.
The court decision “is fine for us,” he said, “but it is going to cause a heck of a lot more grief for them than they care to admit”. He also said the province is going to have to change some of its laws to comply with the supreme court.
And he said the ruling is going to mean more negotiation. “What it really boils down to, is a victory as this for our people doesn’t automatically come into play. It really is up to us and the Crown to try to make it work,” he said.
To do that, the Haida plan to be pro-active. “We are not going to sit around and wait for them to change legislation. We have to be on the ground right now to make sure things are being done to protect our interest at the planning level. We’ll have to be sitting down with Weyerhaeuser, with the province, there will be a lot of things going on,” he said.
First off, he said, are some meetings expected between Haida lawyers and the province to find out how they expect to deliver on the consultation and accommodation requirement, Guujaaw said. And he added “certainly the courts are not the only thing. We don’t rely on the court to resolve all our problems. We got to keep busy and keep them dancing,” he said.
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