World Bulletin / News Desk
Aboriginal peoples in the province of British Columbia can stake a broad claim to their traditional territories due to a landmark victory at the Supreme Court of Canada, a decision that natural resource companies had warned would create investor uncertainty.
Thursday's ruling marked the first time the Supreme Court has recognized aboriginal title to a specific piece of land, and is expected to have predominant application in resource-rich Pacific Coast province, where there are unresolved land claims.
The case involved a claim to 1,750 sq km (676 sq miles) of land in central part of British Columbia. The court ruled that aboriginal groups are entitled to prevent forestry in this particular tract.
It overturned an appeals court decision that had restricted aboriginals to having title only in the small areas where they had proven continuous and intensive physical use.
The Supreme Court judgment allows the aboriginal groups in this case to ban commercial logging. But the ruling also said that the government can allow resource projects to go ahead, even if they infringe on aboriginal title, in some cases where there is "a compelling and substantial public interest".
The decision adds conditions that would be expected to make it more difficult, but not necessarily impossible, for developments such as pipelines, mines and forestry to proceed without aboriginal consent.
There are no new pipelines being proposed to pass through this particular area. Enbridge Inc's planned Northern Gateway pipeline route lies well to the north.Last Mod: 26 Haziran 2014, 17:51