Legal news and foreshadowing of future blog postings

August 6, 2014

I’m posting this blog as an “interim” blog of some newsworthy items while I find some time for a more focused article. It has been a busy summer, which is good for my legal practice, but prejudicial to the rate of my blog postings.

In particular, I’m hoping to find some time to write on two important Supreme Court of Canada decisions in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, 2014 SCC 44 (CanLII) and Grassy Narrows First Nation v. Ontario (Natural Resources), 2014 SCC 48 (CanLII).  In the latter decision the SCC reaffirmed the high threshold for opposing the taking of treaty lands as having to completely deprive a First Nation of its “meaningful” rights before an action for treaty infringement can be brought:

“…if the taking up leaves the Ojibway with no meaningful right to hunt, fish or trap in relation to the territories over which they traditionally hunted, fished, and trapped, a potential action for treaty infringement will arise.”

(Grassy Narrows First Nation v. Ontario (Natural Resources), 2014 SCC 48 at para. 52, citing Mikisew Cree First Nation v. Canada (Minister of Canadian Heritage)2005 SCC 69 (CanLII), [2005] 3 S.C.R. 388, 2005 SCC 69)

However, some First Nations have apparently served notice that they will fight any unwanted development (see CBC, “Ontario First Nations ready to die defending lands: chiefs“).

A significant news item is the Mount Polley tailings pond breach that occurred in the early morning on Monday, August 4th, 2014.  Here are two of my recent LinkedIn updates on this:

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