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Aboriginal interests not company’s responsibility, court rules


November 23, 2004
By Pulp & Paper Canada

A ruling passed down on November 18th by the Supreme Court of Canada will aid to clarify dealings amongst governmen…

A ruling passed down on November 18th by the Supreme Court of Canada will aid to clarify dealings amongst governments, companies and aboriginal communities, says Weyerhaeuser. The ruling determined the duty to consult and accommodate is the government’s responsibility, not that of businesses and third parties. In turn, the government is expected to have in place reasonable processes to address aboriginal interests. However, according to the ruling, these processes mustn’t provide aboriginal groups with a veto over what can be done with land pending final proof of claim. Rather, the government must balance aboriginal interests with broader societal interests.

"By providing greater certainty about the process of balancing aboriginal interests with others, the ruling will encourage reconciliation and economic activity," said Sandy McDade, president of Weyerhaeuser Company Limited. "While businesses can and do play a constructive role in working with aboriginal groups, this decision provides needed clarity and establishes that businesses can rely on the reasonable policies of government in addressing aboriginal claims.”

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