The Guerin decision had an impact on the definition of Aboriginal rights in Canada. The case arose because the federal government decided to lease some Musqueam reserve lands to a Vancouver golf club at a rate below that demanded by the Musqueam involved. The government was found in breach of trust, having violated what the judge perceived as its fiduciary responsibility to the Natives. The government was obliged to act in the best interests of the Natives, something it had failed to do in this instance. The immediate result was a financial award for damages to the Natives concerned. Of greater portent were the interpretive conclusions. The court defined the fiduciary relationship between the Crown and its wards as sui generis, unique, and offered the view that the relationship was bound to change and grow as did the parties involved. The court further put the onus on federal and provincial governments to prove that Aboriginal rights had been extinguished with the consent of those concerned.

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Chinook Multimedia

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