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Duty to Consult in Play as Shell Suspends Klappan Drilling?

Intercontinental Cry draws an intriguing connection between a recent Supreme Court of BC decision and Shell’s suspension of drilling operations in the Klappan (Wii’litswx v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests); 2008 BCSC 1139). This Court ruling chastised the provincial government for not consulting the Gitanyow (north central BC; Gitksan) about logging leases on its traditional lands. (Intercontinental Cry reports on the story here.)

From Intercontinental Cry:

A little over a week before British Colombia’s Supreme Court Justice Kathryn Neilson ruled in favor of the Gitanyow First Nation, over the Forestry Ministry’s failure to adequately consult them when they leased out sections of the Gitanyow’s traditional territory, Shell Canada moved to suspend drilling in B.C.’s Klappan Valley for the remainder of 2008.

Is there a direct connection? Probably not. Still, this court ruling appears to further legal support for aboriginal ownership or control of resources on traditional lands and what happens with them.

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