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The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in favour of the Tsilhqot’in title case!
The 81-page decision states, “The judgment of the Court was delivered by THE CHIEF JUSTICE — I would allow the appeal and grant a declaration of Aboriginal title over the area at issue, as requested by the Tsilhqot’in. I further declare that British Columbia breached its duty to consult owed to the Tsilhqot’in through its land use planning and forestry authorizations.”
The Council of Canadians, along with its Williams Lake chapter, were interveners at the Supreme Court in support of the Tsilhqot’in claim. Our submission argued for the recognition of title more broadly and liberally, rather than just for isolated pockets of land. Our lawyers noted that it was not appropriate to argue that a broad recognition of title would burden existing non-indigenous interests.
The Council of Canadians was represented at the November 7, 2013 hearing on this case by Ratcliff & Company LLP senior litigation partner Gregory McDade (the founding executive director of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, now Ecojustice) and Matthew Kirchner.
The Vancouver Sun reported prior to the ruling, “It is expected to be the first time the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled on a specific claim to title, or land property rights, and experts say it could be the most important case in the history of aboriginal rights development in Canada.”
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