Supreme Court rejects case brought by Sandspit tour operator

  • Feb. 25, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed a case brought by tour operator Moresby Explorers of Sandspit against the Government of Canada over quota allocations in Gwaii Hanaas. It started five years ago, when Gwaii Haanas updated its backcountry management plan, and brought in three limits. One capped the number of clients per day per tour operator at 22, another limited each operator to 2,500 clients a year, and the third formally allocated one-third of visitors to Gwaii Haanas to Haida tour operators. Doug Gould of Sandspit, then owner of tour company Moresby Explorers, first asked for a judicial review of the limits. When that review upheld all three in 2005, Mr. Gould proceeded to the Federal Court of Appeal, and lost on all three issues in 2006. Then, last December, he appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada on the Haida quota issue alone. But on Thursday (Feb. 21) the Supreme Court announced it would not hear the appeal, dismissing the case. The court also ordered Moresby Explorers to pay costs. It’s the end of the road for the process, as the Supreme Court is the highest court which hears federal cases. Council of the Haida Nation President Guujaaw said he was pretty happy about the ruling.”So what remains is just the way that we had agreed to,” he said, “(potentially, it) could have thrown the whole Gwaii Hanaas agreement for a loop.””We’re quite happy about it. It validated or actively confirmed the validity of those limits, and the superintendent’s authority under the Parks Canada Act to establish those limits,” Gwaii Hanaas Acting Superintendent Dennis Madsen said Friday. Doug Gould, former owner of Moresby Explorers was not available for comment.

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