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WIN! Supreme Court rules in favour of Tsilhqot’in title!

Photo: Council of Canadians lawyer McDade makes his argument to the Supreme Court

Photo: Council of Canadians lawyer McDade makes his argument to the Supreme Court , video here.

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in favour of the Tsilhqot’in title case!

The 81-page decision states, “The judgment of the Court was delivered by THE CHIEF JUSTICE — I would allow the appeal and grant a declaration of Aboriginal title over the area at issue, as requested by the Tsilhqot’in. I further declare that British Columbia breached its duty to consult owed to the Tsilhqot’in through its land use planning and forestry authorizations.”

The Council of Canadians, along with its Williams Lake chapter, were interveners at the Supreme Court in support of the Tsilhqot’in claim. Our submission argued for the recognition of title more broadly and liberally, rather than just for isolated pockets of land. Our lawyers noted that it was not appropriate to argue that a broad recognition of title would burden existing non-indigenous interests.

The Council of Canadians was represented at the November 7, 2013 hearing on this case by Ratcliff & Company LLP senior litigation partner Gregory McDade (the founding executive director of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, now Ecojustice) and Matthew Kirchner.

The Vancouver Sun reported prior to the ruling, “It is expected to be the first time the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled on a specific claim to title, or land property rights, and experts say it could be the most important case in the history of aboriginal rights development in Canada.”

The Council of Canadians congratulates the Tsilhqot’in Nation on their 25 year struggle for title and all interveners in this case.

Further reading
Council intervenes in Supreme Court case that could derail Northern Gateway pipeline
Tsilhqot’in Nation asserts Title at Supreme Court of Canada today
Council of Canadians supports Aboriginal title in Supreme Court intervener submission
Supreme Court of Canada to hear Tsilhqot’in challenge with impact on Taseko mine at Fish Lake