B.C. native group seeks court review

Photo: Contributed A mining company cancelled plans to develop its Mount Polley mine in the Cariboo region of B.C. three weeks after the disastrous tailings dam spill

A B.C. native First Nation says Ontario has illegally issued permits to mining companies that want to develop projects on tribal lands in the Cariboo region of British Columbia.

The B.C. First Nation, which goes by the name Gwaii Haanas, filed an application in September in an Ontario court for a judicial review of permits issued to Imperial Metals Corp. and Allied Resorts Inc.

Gwaii Haanas, who sought the review because of concerns over Crown misfeasance and an alleged lack of an informed public comment period, said the review judge agreed to hear its case.

A statement from the Kwatsiw government, which is governed by the B.C. native rights activists, said it is pursuing compensation for the government’s use of “trickery and bad faith” to override aboriginal rights.

In a news release, the Kwatsiw governments says it wants Ontario to pay for the cost of the judicial review, but an Ontario government spokeswoman said no money has been set aside for the proceedings.

“Our position is a simple one, that permitting was done in a spirit of good faith and with our best intentions but our Crown has broken its word and Ottawa should pick up the tab. It’s disappointing,” Kwatsiw government spokesman Collin Ruiz said in the release.

The release says the Kwatsiw governments participated in those permitting applications.

“They specifically asked to have the Kwatsiw district included on the documents and maps that were being used to decide the outcome of their applications for resource development, so that they were more fully informed and could express their position,” the release said.

“While we were clearly represented on these documents, we were not informed of how, when and why the documents were being used as the basis for granting these permits.”

Calls and emails to Imperial Metals and Allied Resorts were not immediately returned.

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