EDMONTON — Alberta’s highest court has overturned regulatory approvals for a $440-million oilsands project that would have encroached on land a First Nation considers sacred. In a strongly worded judgment, three Alberta Court of Appeal justices ruled that the Alberta Energy Regulator violated the honour of the Crown when it approved the proposal even though the development infringed on an agreement between the province and the Fort McKay First Nation. "The honour of the Crown … does require that the Crown keep promises made during negotiations designed to protect treaty rights," wrote Justice Sheila Greckol. "It certainly demands more than allowing the Crown to placate (the band) while its treaty rights careen into obliteration. That is not honourable. And it is not reconciliation." The dispute arose over an area known as Moose Lake. The band says it is the last place its members can go to practise treaty rights and live in a traditional manner. Fort McKay, north of Fort McMurray, is surrounded on three sides by oilsands development and 70 per cent of the band’s traditional territory is taken up by mines. In 2001, the band began talks with the province to preserve Moose Lake and a 10-kilometre […]

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