VANCOUVER – Members of an Alberta First Nation lost their bid to stop the sale of oil and gas tenure in neighbouring British Columbia, but they did win a warning from the judge that they must be consulted.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge found that the Dene Tha have been properly consulted on the B.C. government’s sale of exploration rights on 21 parcels of land, most for shale gas development in northeastern B.C.
But in his written judgment posted on the court website today, Justice Christopher Grauer says the depth of consultation will only increase as the possibility of real development nears.
Grauer says he does not doubt the force of the Dene Tha’s concerns about everything from the survival of endangered caribou to their economic future.
In order to meet its constitutional obligations, he says the province will have to ensure appropriate accommodation of those concerns.
The B.C. government made more than $400 million from the tenure sales.