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01Dec
2014

The Tsilhqot'in Nation and Whistler Cases: What Do They Mean for Local Government

This paper deals with the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent landmark decision in the Tsilhqot’in v. British Columbia, the first case in which a court has granted a declaration of aboriginal title in British Columbia and thus a case with truly enormous implications for British Columbia. It also deals with the related issue of the Crown’s constitutional duty to consult First Nations in the face of credible, but as yet unproven, claims to aboriginal title or rights. Part A, dealing with the Tsilhqot’in case, is essentially a reprint, which a few minor amendments, of Gregg Cockrill’s recent newsletter article. In Part B, Reece Harding discusses the duty of consultation, particularly as it applies to local governments, noting and discussing the most significant cases, including the leading Supreme Court of Canada case, Haida Nation v. British Columbia, which established the basic framework of the duty, the British Columbia Court of Appeal decision in Neskonlith Indian Band v. Salmon Arm, denying that the duty extends to local governments, and the recent Supreme Court of British Columbia decision, Squamish Nation v. British Columbia, in which the court set aside Whistler’s new official community plan on account of the Province’s failure to adequately consult the First Nation regarding the potential impacts of the plan before approving it.

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