Here are the updated stats for the Supreme Court of Canada’s rulings in Aboriginal law cases since the patriation of the Constitution in 1982. There have been some big changes since the last update a few years ago – Justices Binnie (14/33 – 42.4% in favor of Aboriginal interests), Charron (6/19 – 31.5%), and Deschamps (7/23 – 30.4) have left and Justices Moldaver (0/2 – 0%), Karakatsanis (0/2 – 0%) and Wagner (0/1 – 0%) are not off to a very auspicious start since coming on board.
Overall, as the court sits today, the Justices have collectively found in favor of Aboriginal interests only 30.7% of the time. Here’s the breakdown by individual Justice – McLachlin: 35.1% (19/54); LeBel: 23% (6/26); Fish: 36.3% (8/22); Abella: 35% (7/20); Rothstein: 25% (4/16); Cromwell: 30% (3/10); Moldaver: 0% (0/2); Karakatsanis: 0% (0/2); and Wagner: 0% (0/1).
Supreme Court of Canada’s Aboriginal Law Stats
Just a few hours ago, “[a] request by SWN Resources Canada to extend a court injunction that prevents anyone from impeding its exploration activities in New Brunswick has been denied by a judge. Justice George Rideout issued a ruling Monday afternoon after hearing arguments in the Court of Queen’s Bench on Friday. Rideout did not state his reason in court, but said he would issue a written decision.” Click here for the story from CBC news.
Click here for a great article from Martin Lukacs. “Images of burning cars and narratives about Canadian natives breaking the law obscure the real story about the Mi’kmaq people’s opposition to shale gas exploration.”
A week before the country celebrated Independence Day, the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma became the first Native nation to adopt an official resolution in support of restoring improperly withheld pay to eligible Native American veterans and service members.
The attack by the MP and son of a former Canadian Prime Minister was relentless. Read the story here as well as watch actual video of the brutal attack here.
Here’s the updated stats after the recent decision, R. v. Ipeelee, 2012 SCC 13, where the court revisited Gladue and found in favor of aboriginal interests 6-1. Individual percentages in favor of aboriginal interests now range from 29.1% (LeBel – 7/24) to 57.1% (Cromwell – 4/7).
Just weeks after Aboriginal Affairs of Canada admitted to spying on First Nations child advocate Cindy Blackstock (here’s the Nov. 14 APTN story) another story was just released which shows that the RCMP was doing the same to eighteen First Nations throughout the country. Here’s the story, which includes links to an RCMP slide show presentation and 2009 Strategic Intelligence Report.
The federal government created a wide-ranging surveillance network in early 2007 to monitor protests by First Nations, including those that would garner national attention or target “critical infrastructure” like highways, railways and pipelines, according to RCMP documents obtained through access to information requests. Formed after the Conservatives came to power, the RCMP unit’s mandate was to collect and disseminate intelligence about situations involving First Nations that have “escalated to civil disobedience and unrest in the form of protest actions.” According to a RCMP slide-show presentation from the spring of 2009, the intelligence unit reported weekly to approximately 450 recipients in law enforcement, government, and unnamed “industry partners” in the energy and private sector.
In Lax Kw’alaams Indian Band v. Canada (Attorney General), 2011 SCC 56, the Supreme Court of Canada recently (Nov. 10) dealt a serious blow to any tribes wanting to engage in commercial fisheries within their traditional territories. The unanimous, 7 judge court (McLachlin, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Abella, Charron, and Rothstein) rejected a claim to possession (under s. 35) of an aboriginal right to fish commercially all species in their traditional territories. Before contact with the newcomers, the Lax Kw’alaams Indian Band fished off their ancestral coast for thousands of years, regularly traded fish grease extracted from the eulachon, as well engaged in occassional trade in other fish and fish products. As such, the Lax Kw’alaams sought a declaration as to their aboriginal rights to engage in commercial fishing. The trial judge and later, the British Columbia Court of Appeal, rejected their claim. The Supreme Court followed suit – and Justice Binnie (shouldn’t he be gone by now?), writing for the court, agreed with the lower courts.
The Federal Court of Appeal recently revisited a 2009 decision from the Federal Court involving the removal of and 10-year prohibition of re-election for the former Chief of Peepeekisis First Nation. The court affirmed the lower court’s decision that there was insufficient evidence to establish that either of the two Councils (which removed the Chief and implemented the prohibition) satisfied the criteria of the Election Act, or custom. Here’s the decision – Bellegarde v. Poitras.
Marcinyshyn v. R was recently handed down by the Tax Court of Canada – and is really just more of the same. The aboriginal appellants were denied tax relief because of the failed “connecting factors” test, notwithstanding their argument that the test has become obsolete as a result of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bastien and Dubé.