Court of Appeals dismisses Ktunaxa’s appeal

The B.C. Court of Appeals has dismissed the Ktunaxa First Nation’s appeal of the B.C. Supreme Court’s ruling last year in favour of the provincial government in the Ktunaxa’s legal case against the approval of Jumbo Glacier Resort.

The original petition argued that the Ktunaxa had not properly been consulted during the approval process, which eventually resulted in the provincial government signing a Master Development Agreement for Jumbo Glacier Resort with Glacier Resorts Ltd. in 2012, and that building a ski resort in the Upper Jumbo Valley and Upper Farnham areas would infringes on Qatmuk, a territory the Ktunaxa consider sacred. The petition was dismissed in April 2014, with the judge in that case writing that his his opinion the accommodations offered (to the Ktunaxa by the provincial government) fall within a range of reasonable responses which upholds the honour of the Crown and satisfied the Crowns duty to consult and accommodate the Ktunaxas asserted Aboriginal rights.

The appeal was heard in May 2015 and a ruling was issued on Thursday, August 6th, in which the Court of Appeals judge upheld the initial 2014 ruling, saying that the chambers judge made an affirmative finding that the Minister acted in good faith throughout the consultation process. In my view the chambers judge did not err with respect to the consultation or the accommodation analysis. I agree with the chambers judge that the process of consultation and the accommodation offered meets the reasonableness standard.

The Court of Appeals judge further concluded that the decision to approve the Master Development Agreement did not violate the Ktunaxas freedom of religion guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights.

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