Losing the Battle but Winning the War?

6.11.15

Toby Kruger, John Olynyk and Keith Bergner discuss the Yukon Court of Appeal's decision in the Peel River case that they first reported on here. The decision focussed on whether the Yukon Government properly followed the land use planning process set out in three modern land claims agreements in the development of a land use plan for the Peel River region.  The Court of Appeal largely agreed with the lower court that the Yukon Government had not followed the proper process in making extensive changes to a land use plan prepared by an independent regional planning Commission.  However, the Court of Appeal also confirmed that the Yukon Government has a broad power to make land use decisions for Crown lands in the territory, as long  as those decisions are made in a manner consistent with the treaties, interpreted in a generous, purposive manner, and consistent with the honour of the Crown.  Accordingly, the Court of Appeal sent the parties back to the point at which the process failure began, in contrast to the trial judge, who would have sent the parties back to the final stage of the land use planning process. As a result, while the Yukon Government may have lost the process battle, it won the war over the more fundamental issue of its power to make land use decisions for Crown lands in the territory.

Read more here.