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Court agrees no need to consult at this juncture

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Compiled by Shari Narine







The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling against the Buffalo River Dene Nation, which wants to halt oilsands exploration on its traditional territory. Last year a Court of Queen’s Bench judge ruled against the Buffalo River Dene Nation’s challenge of exploration permits issued to Scott Land and Lease. The First Nation argued the permits were a violation of treaty rights and the duty to consult was ignored. The judge ruled there was no duty to consult for exploration permits. The Buffalo River Dene filed an appeal. In April, Justice J. A. Caldwell dismissed the court action, ruling, “Buffalo River Dene Nation’s assertion that the Crown’s duty to consult has been triggered here, chiefly because of the possibility of impact on the rights of its members under Treaty 10, amounts to no more than speculation at this juncture.” The province has said the permits grant the company exclusive rights for exploration, but do not permit access to land or excavation.