A conservative think-tank says a Supreme Court of Canada decision to allow First Nations to sue private parties could have negative implications.
The Fraser Institute report examines the Supreme Court decision allowing the Stellat’en First Nation and the Saik’uz First Nation to sue Rio Tinto Alcan for damages due to the Kenny Dam without first proving aboriginal title.
Ravina Bains is the author of the study, and she’s the associate director of aboriginal policy studies at the Fraser Institute.
She says simply claiming aboriginal title is now enough to bring forward litigation against private parties, where before it could only be brought against provincial or federal governments.
Bains says this could mean businesses and First Nations could be stuck in courts for decades.
She adds that many other questions are raised, for example will the federal or provincial governments recognize the outcomes of private title litigation.
Bains says she hopes courts will also start taking into account the economic impacts of their decisions, calling that a step in the right direction in aboriginal jurisprudence.