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Chief Roger William of the Tsilhqot’in Nation is shown in Vancouver on June 26, 2014. A landmark Supreme Court decision has upheld the Tsilhqot’in’s aboriginal title over about 2,000 square kilometres of B.C. land.
Chief Roger William of the Tsilhqot’in Nation is shown in Vancouver on June 26, 2014. A landmark Supreme Court decision has upheld the Tsilhqot’in’s aboriginal title over about 2,000 square kilometres of B.C. land.
(JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Supreme Court ruling should remind Ottawa of unfinished business with First Nations

The Supreme Court of Canada decision this week on aboriginal title underscores one enduring truth that the Harper government has come to only belatedly: that partnership on resource development requires a broader reconciliation on land claims and historical grievances.

The government has long insisted that First Nations do not hold an absolute veto over resource projects on their traditional territory. But the courts have increasingly handed to them powers that, while not quite a legal veto, may amount to one in practice, especially in situations where there is no treaty as in much of British Columbia.