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Opinion: The land question should be a matter of concern – Vancouver Sun

by pmnationtalk on January 30, 2017245 Views

January 30, 2017

Most of B.C. is built on unceeded aboriginal land, which means that absent a treaty, the province’s legal foundation is on shaky ground. For this reason, British Columbians ought to be concerned about the slow pace of reconciliation of aboriginal rights and title.

Since the British North America Act established Canada as a country 150 years ago, it’s well past time aboriginal reconciliation in the province of B.C. was achieved.

As Justice Mary Southin of the B.C. Court of Appeal commented in reference to Skeetchestn Indian Band v. British Columbia: “Sooner or later, the question of whether those who hold certificates of indefeasible title, whether to ranch lands on Kamloops Lake or to a small lot with a house on it on Railway Avenue in the Village of Ashcroft or an office tower on Georgia Street in the City of Vancouver, are subject to claims of aboriginal right must be decided.”

According to the Supreme Court of Canada, in the Tsilhqot’in case, where aboriginal title is recognized, the province’s jurisdiction in curtailed because “aboriginal rights are a limit on both federal and provincial jurisdiction” and there must be a balancing of aboriginal rights versus the ability of the province to regulate, for example, fire or pest control.

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