VANCOUVER, B.C. – A judge found the province infringed on treaty rights by allowing industrial development in the traditional territory of the Blueberry River First Nations.
On Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Burke said the province is no longer authorized to allow development activities that would impact Treaty 8 rights of hunting, fishing and trapping.
BRFN argued the combined impacts of development like roads, dams, transmission lines, and natural gas extraction have slowly reduced access to natural resources and practices.
Response and Statement from BC Government
David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, has released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court of B.C.’s ruling in the Yahey v. British Columbia case:
“After careful deliberation, the Province has decided not to appeal the court’s decision in Yahey v. British Columbia. The court’s decision was clear that the Province must improve its assessment and management of the cumulative impact of industrial development on Blueberry River First Nations’ Treaty rights, and to ensure these constitutional rights are protected.
“The Province and Blueberry River First Nations have been directed to work together in the development of provincial processes that assess and manage the cumulative impact of industrial development, and recognize and respect Blueberry River First Nations’ Treaty rights. The Province recognizes that negotiation, rather than litigation, is the primary forum for achieving reconciliation and the renewal of the Crown-Indigenous relationship.
“We welcome the opportunity to work closely with Blueberry River First Nations, other Treaty 8 Nations, stakeholders and the public to build a path forward for resource development in the territory – one that provides stable economic activity and employment along with environmental sustainability and respecting Treaty 8 rights.
“We have always sought collaborative dialogue on these matters with Blueberry River First Nations outside of the courts, and we have reached out to Blueberry River First Nations in order to start the negotiation process, which all parties, including industry, local government and stakeholders, are keen to pursue in earnest.”
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