Vancouver News

Canada sees landmark ruling on Aboriginals, land

By The Associated Press

VANCOUVER - A landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling that Aboriginals in British Columbia can stake a broad claim to traditional territories could have a significant impact on future development of resources, energy projects and pipelines.

The high court ruling recognized, for the first time in Canada, Aboriginal title to a specific tract of land. The case involved a claim to 676 square miles (1,750 square kilometres) of land in central British Columbia. The court ruled that the Tsilhqot'in Nation is entitled to prevent forestry on the tract.

The unanimous decision Thursday ended a 25-year legal battle and set a historic precedent affecting resource rights.

Aboriginal issues lawyer Larry Innes said Friday that some regulators may have to revise their processes for Aboriginal consultation on projects.

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