Northcoast MLA Bill Belsey offered his thoughts on the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision when he spoke to members of the QCI Chamber of Commerce last week.
Mr. Belsey, unable to attend the meeting in Port Clements because of the weather, spoke to chamber members by telephone.
“There are no big winners or losers,” he said, I think the decision is significant from the point of view of the province and the industry, and the Haida are very pleased with the decision as well”.
He said he doesn’t think it will make much difference to Victoria. “From the province’s perspective, the requirement or the duty to consult and accommodate, we didn’t see any major change there. We are required to do that. It certainly has been a challenge over the years to know what consult and accommodate means,” he said.
The MLA also said it lessens the burden on industry, since the decision puts most of the onus for consultation on the province.
And he added that it clarifies powers to some degree. “The..case..took a look at whether First Nations have a right to stop a project,” he said. “They don’t have the right to block a project.”
The court ruled last month that the government has a duty to consult and accommodate First Nations’ interests even where land claims have not been settled.
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