Preliminary and Final Decisions

Thomas Paul v. Government of British Columbia

Decision Date:
October 24, 1997
File Numbers:
Decision Numbers:
Third Parties:
Council of Haida Nation, Third Party


Decision Date: October 24, 1997

Panel: Toby Vigod

Keywords: Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act – s.131(9) and (10); aboriginal rights, Cuddy Chicks Ltd. v. Ontario (L.R.B.) (S.C.C.); meaning of direct interest; Bosa Development Corporation v. Assessor of Area 12 – Coquitlam et. al. (B.C.C.A.); Commission’s jurisdiction limited; not binding precedent.

The Council of Haida Nation (“CHN”) applied for intervenor status in the appeal pending against a District Manager’s determination and the Review Panel decision finding the Appellant, Mr. Paul, contravened section 96(1) of the Forest Practices Code and section 65(3) of the Forest Act when he cut four trees on Crown land without authorization. Mr. Paul appeals on the grounds that this finding violates his aboriginal rights, among other things. CHN argued that the people of the Haida Nation have a direct and vital interest the issues raised regarding aboriginal rights. The CHN also claimed that they could assist the Commission in appreciating the broader context of the issues before it, especially the question of the justification as set out in R. v. Sparrow and R. v. Gladstone.

The Commission found that the Haida had a genuine interest in the aboriginal issues raised in the appeal. However, the Commission noted that aboriginal rights are fact and site specific; therefore, the CHN were not permitted to lead evidence. They were given limited standing to provide oral argument on the aboriginal rights issues raised in the appeal. The Commission granted intervenor status on a limited basis.