The Coastal GasLink dispute highlights the complicated, essential need to balance rights – The Globe and Mail

by ahnationtalk on January 24, 202021 Views

Sam Adkins is a lawyer with a focus on Indigenous law, based in Vancouver.

Private landowners in Richmond, B.C., might be surprised to learn that there is currently an aboriginal title claim winding its way through the courts that affects hundreds of private properties. More surprisingly, the court does not want them to know about it. Should they be concerned? Probably not, but the reasons why are complicated.

So goes Canadian Indigenous law, a complex and deeply political area of law that is quietly transforming Canada. It bubbles to the surface when pipelines are concerned, and a lot of ink is spilled about Indigenous consent, consultation and veto. The reality is that almost all of B.C. sits on unceded Indigenous land. Yet no one seriously questions the right of non-Indigenous British Columbians to live here. We implicitly understand the need to balance and reconcile important but conflicting rights to land.

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