Fraser Institute Report Looks into SC Ruling on Aboriginal Title

A new study conducted by an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank, namely the Fraser Institute, has found that the recent ruling of Supreme Court of Canada that entitles a group of six B.C. First Nations to claim a large piece of land outside their reserves will have unexpected national implications and is anticipated to stunt economic development across Canada.

The study entitled ‘A Real Game Changer’ looked into and explored the ruling, which granted more than 1,700 square kilometres of land in B.C.’s Interior to the Tsilhqot’in Nation. The study author and associate director of Aboriginal policy studies at the Fraser Institute, Ravina Bains, stated that “this Court ruling all but guarantees increased uncertainty for natural resource projects in Canada and a potential increase in cost for economic development across the country. In provinces like British Columbia, future natural resource projects may be scuttled, and existing projects may be halted or shut down.”

The report highlighted that it’s the first time in the history of Canada that a declaration of Aboriginal title, i.e. the right to land or territory, was recognized outside an Indian reserve. The report revealed that contradictory to previous judgments, this ruling allows Aboriginal communities to extent their title to all traditional territories and is not limited to specific villages. The decision has significant impact in B.C., since one-third of the country’s First Nations reserves are in B.C. and outstanding claims involve more than 100 per cent of the province’s land.

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