The former federal government under Stephen Harper set up the “Specific Claims Tribunal” in an effort to bring closure to many outstanding aboriginal land claims.
The plan allowed the tribunal to negotiate deals with bands right across Canada, with Ottawa saying it would not interfere or appeal tribunal decisions.
The tribunal came down on the side of the Williams Lake Band, concluding the band deserved financial compensation for being kicked off their traditional lands to make way for the white settlers, in contradiction to both federal and colonial law of the day.
But as explained by Williams Lake City Councilor Scott Nelson, that promise not to block decisions was broken, ” they said that they supported the tribunal, it was going to be all legal and binding, there was no challenges to be had and what does the government do, they challenge the very tribunal recommendations and I think that’s wrong, it’s a waste of time and and a waste of energy and it’s costing the tax payers money and that money should be going to the first nations.”
As a result of that outcome, the City of Williams Lake voted unanimously to back the bands battle as they prepare to challenge the Federal Court of Appeal decision in the Supreme Court Of Canada.