'Outrageous' that feds reviewing $13.9M award from logging dispute: B.C. First Nation
Huu-ay-aht First Nations was awarded compensation from Specific Claims Tribunal in December
A Huu-ay-aht First Nations leader said it's "outrageous" that the federal government will review a Specific Claims Tribunal decision awarding more than $13.9 million for decades of illegal logging in their territory.
The Nuu-chah-nulth community, located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, was awarded the settlement in December 2016, after filing the claim in 2011.
The community's leaders found out on Thursday that Canada was seeking a judicial review.
"Part of our reconciliation to this long-term dispute was to seek fair compensation," said Huu-ay-aht First Nations Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. in a press release.
"We trusted Canada's judicial processes to achieve this, but we are extremely disappointed to hear this will be further prolonged."
Contrary to PM's reconciliation talk: Dennis
Dennis said that the federal government's decision to appeal the award runs contrary to what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said about the need for Canada to reconcile with First Nations.
He called the appeal unfair and "a waste of taxpayers' money."
The Specific Claims Tribunal had ruled in 2014 that the federal government "failed completely" in its duty to consult the First Nation when it issued a logging licence to a company called BSW in 1942 with a special condition that allowed it a 21-year term that could be renewed.
The Huu-ay-aht petitioned the government to cancel the agreement when it learned of the license in 1948, arguing it would not fully benefit from the lumber sales, but Canada allowed BSW to continue logging until 1969.
While Tribunal decisions are considered final, they are subject to judicial review under the Federal Courts Act.
With files from The Canadian Press