Report on First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries

Here is the full report (pdf), but if you’d like to listen to it in Ojibwe, Cree, Mohawk, or Oji-Cree, here is the link.

THUNDER BAY, ON, Feb. 26, 2013 /CNW/ – The Honourable Frank Iacobucci, former Supreme Court Justice and Independent Reviewer, today released his report on First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries. The report finds that the justice system and juries process are in a state of crisis for Ontario’s First Nations peoples, particularly those living in the North, and identifies 17 recommendations to improve the representation of First Nations individuals on juries and enhance their perception of the jury system.

“For Ontario’s First Nations peoples, particularly in the North, the justice system and juries process generally are in a crisis,” said the Hon. Frank Iacobucci. “As a result of our face-to-face meetings with leaders and community members from 32 First Nations from across Ontario, we developed 17 recommendations that will help ensure that the cultural values, laws, and ideologies of First Nations’ are better reflected in the Canadian justice system.”

The Attorney General of Ontario appointed the Hon. Frank Iacobucci in August 2011 to examine, report, and offer recommendations regarding the process for inclusion of First Nation peoples living in reserve communities on the provincial jury roll.

Key recommendations made by the Independent Reviewer include:

Establishing an Implementation Committee with First Nations membership, government officials and individuals (including a youth Aboriginal member) who would be responsible for the implementation of the report.
Establishing a First Nation Advisory Group to the Attorney General on matters relating to First Nations peoples and the justice system.
Providing cultural training for all government officials working in the justice system who have contact with First Nations peoples (e.g. police, court workers, Crown prosecutors, prison guards and other related agencies).
Determining promptly and urgently the feasibility and suitability of using existing government databases or other suitable sources (e.g. band residency information, Ministry of Transportation information, OHIP roles, and other records) to generate a database of First Nations individuals living on reserve for the purposes of compiling the jury roll.
Amending the questionnaire sent to prospective jurors so that it is more appropriate for First Nations communities.
Considering a procedure whereby First Nations people on reserve could volunteer for jury service as a means of supplementing other jury source lists.
Creating an Assistant Deputy Attorney General position responsible for Aboriginal issues, including the implementation of this report.

Certain readers might be interested to know the author of the report, Hon. Frank Iacobucci, also is a member of the board for Tim Horton’s.


New Law School in Ontario to Give Preference to First Nations Students

From the Toronto Star:

Law society paves way for Ontario’s first new law school in 43 years

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That vision is inching closer to reality now that the Law Society of Upper Canada has approved a proposal from Lakehead University to open a law school in Thunder Bay.

The university says the school would give preference to northerners and First Nations applicants.

Lakehead’s senate votes on the proposal Friday.

If the Ontario government approves the project, Lakehead will become home to the first new law school in Ontario in more than 40 years, the last being University of Windsor’s faculty of law, which opened in 1969.

“We are set to go and we think this is really high value for the money,” Lakehead president Brian Stevenson said Tuesday.

The law school is expected to cost about $2.5 million a year to operate and Lakehead is looking to the province to pick up a third of the expense.

“This is an opportune time for institutions to be coming forward with proposals like this,” John Milloy, Ontario’s minister of training, colleges and universities, told the Star.

The province is about to sit down with all post-secondary institutions to discuss their future and it will be looking at how Lakehead’s proposal will benefit First Nations communities and the economy, Milloy said.

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Beardy sees a similar role for First Nations leaders in developing a law school.

Ontario currently has 42,182 lawyers, but few are from First Nations communities.

A study conducted for the law society by York University sociologist Michael Ornstein in 2006 found that just 1 per cent of Ontario lawyers — about 315 at that time — identified themselves as aboriginal.

Canadian Anishinabek First Nation Protests Against Mining Exploration

THUNDER BAY, ON, March 17 /CNW/ – Anishinabek Nation leadership are
demonstrating their support for a Treaty 9 community whose chief was prepared
to go to jail for refusing to allow a mining company to conduct exploration
activity on traditional territory.

Deputy Grand Chief Glen Hare represented the 42 member communities of the
Anishinabek Nation at the Ontario Superior Court building today where
Judge Patrick Smith sentenced Chief Donny Morris of Kitchenuhmaykoosib
Inninuwug and six council members to six months in prison for contempt of
court. The councillors of the fly-in First Nation about 600 km north of
Thunder Bay defied an Oct. 25 court order granting Platinex Inc. access to
Big Trout Lake, which the First Nation claim as ancestral land.

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Metis Hunting Rights in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada

Interesting treaty rights case based on a decision out of the Canadian Supreme Court involving the taking of a moose near Sault Ste. Marie, ONT by a non-status Metis hunter. Here’s the decision in R. v. Powley, the Sault Ste. Marie case.

Closing arguments heard in Métis hunting case

Last Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2007 | 3:52 PM CT

A court in Brandon, Man., heard closing arguments Thursday in a precedent-setting trial over Métis hunting rights.

Will Goodon was charged in 2004 after he shot a duck without a provincial hunting licence. He did possess a Métis “harvester” card, issued by the Manitoba Métis Federation, but the province has refused to recognize those cards.

Goodon pleaded not guilty to the charge, arguing hunting is his birthright.

Goodon’s defence argued Wednesday that the government has washed its hands of establishing aboriginal rights, and so it is up to the courts to interpret the rights of Métis people.

The defence said Métis hunting rights have already been established by a 2003 Supreme Court ruling known as the Powley decision, which granted full-status-Indian hunting rights — the right to hunt and fish for food out of season and without a provincial licence — to Métis who can prove a connection to a stable, continuous community.