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The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution edited by Oliver, Peter; Macklem, Patrick; Des Rosiers, Nathalie (19th October 2017)

Part IV Federalism, B Federalism in Context, Ch.25 The Exploitation of Natural Resources in the Federation

Luanne A. Walton

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution

Edited By: Peter Oliver, Patrick Macklem, Nathalie Des Rosiers

This chapter traces the evolution of natural resources jurisdictional litigation from Confederation in 1867 until the present. Issues of resource ownership, legislative control, and environmental protection are all explored. In the years immediately following Confederation, the principal focus was establishing resource ownership for all provinces. Once that was established through the Natural Resources Transfer Agreements, legislative jurisdiction over resources became the issue. The caselaw from this period resulted in the resource amendment, which was the only change to the federal-provincial division of powers constitutionally entrenched by the Constitution Act, 1982. Issues of ownership and legislative jurisdiction were settled just in time for the courts to turn their focus to environmental protection. The author demonstrates the way in which litigation and negotiation through the years has led to the current conflict between environmental and resource protection, and the potential profits available in the fossil fuel sector, with special emphasis on pipelines.

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