Blueberry River and Doig River First Nations could be awarded for 65-year-old mistake

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Two northeastern First Nations could be compensated millions of dollars for a mistake the Canadian government made 65 years ago.

The Specific Claims Tribunal has found that the federal government botched a land purchase for the Doig River and Blueberry River First Nations in 1950, when it unknowingly failed to secure the rights to underground oil and gas reserves.

At the time, veterans returning from the Second World War needed land and housing, and the nations agreed to give up their reserve for that purpose.

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Justice Larry Whalen says Canada failed to appropriately investigate the title it was acquiring on behalf of the First Nations, and furthermore, did nothing to fix its mistake when it discovered it two years later.

The tribunal can award a maximum of $150 million, but there will be another hearing to determine whether the nations are entitled to compensation.

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