In Dwight Newman’s recent MLI report “Is the Sky the Limit? Following the trajectory of Aboriginal legal rights in natural resource development“, he cautions Aboriginal communities against assuming that Supreme Court rulings on Aboriginal title and land rights will continue in their favour. Rather than rely on court action, he says, Aboriginal groups should take advantage of their strengthened legal position and negotiate deals directly with governments and natural resource companies.
Claudia Cattaneo, a business reporter, profiled the report in the Financial Post. She says that a change in strategy from litigation to negotiation will guarantee that Aboriginal communities benefit from resource development while also protecting the reputation of Canadian businesses abroad. “If Newman is right, it’s a change for the better”, she writes.
Columnist Don Cayo, writing in the Vancouver Sun, highlights Newman’s warning “that First Nations may pay a hefty price if they try to overplay their hand”.
Not long after the report was released, it was referenced by Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson, who described it as “an excellent survey” of recent cases and used it to illustrate his analysis of the uncertainty generated by recent court decisions on Aboriginal rights, particularly the Tsilhqot’in decision of a little over a year ago.