Province will not appeal decision in Yahey V. British Columbia: Attorney General

VICTORIA, B.C. -The Province will not appeal the court’s decision in the Yahey v. British Columbia case. David…

VICTORIA, B.C. -The Province will not appeal the court’s decision in the Yahey v. British Columbia case.

David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, released a statement regarding the Supreme Court of B.C.’s ruling on Wednesday.

“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,” wrote Eby.

Blueberry River First Nations argued the combined impacts of development like roads, dams, transmission lines, and natural gas extraction have slowly reduced access to natural resources and practices.

“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.”

Once it is determined that a government infringed upon a treaty right, the government must compensate the First Nations. Instead of asking for compensation in the form of land or cash, BRFN is only asking for a halt to further development activities.

“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.”

The judge suspended the order for a period of six months to allow time for the province and First Nations to negotiate changes.

“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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