Macdonald-Laurier Institute Senior Fellow Dwight Newman offered some insight for the National Post on the impact of the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation’s decision to assert Aboriginal title over a liquefied natural gas project in British Columbia.
Lax Kw’alaams announced this week it was proceeding with an Aboriginal title claim, a move they say obligates the government to seek their consent before giving its approval to Northwest LNG.
Newman says the decision pushes the project into uncharted legal territory, meaning it will likely be years before they reach a decision on the issue.
“That’s the risk the [Lax Kwa’alaams ] community is trying to highlight”, Newman told the Post. “It draws attention to some of the risk that investors and those involved in the financing will be paying some attention to”.
Newman has emerged as a thought leader on examining the myriad legal issues between First Nations and natural resource companies.
In 2014, he authored a paper on the long-term implications of governments’ Supreme Court-mandated “duty to consult” with First Nations.
He also co-authored, with Ken Coates, a paper examining the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision to grant title to the Tsilhqot’in First Nation.
Both publications are part of MLI’s Aboriginal Canada and the Natural Resource Economy project. The series of publications and events is aimed at finding ways for First Nations and business to work together to ensure the development of Canada’s natural resources is safe, reliable and sustainable.