Politics

No duty to consult Indigenous groups on federal law-making, Supreme Court says

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada says federal ministers do
not have a duty to consult Indigenous groups when drafting
legislation.

In a decision today involving an Alberta First Nation, a
majority of the high court said the law-making process does not
amount to Crown conduct that triggers the deeply entrenched
duty to confer with Indigenous Peoples.

The Mikisew Cree argued that the former Conservative government
should have consulted them on legislative proposals that would
affect their treaty rights.

In 2012, the government introduced two omnibus bills proposing
changes to Canada’s environmental protection and regulatory
processes.

A Federal Court judge said there was a duty to consult the
Mikisew because the proposals would arguably affect fishing,
trapping and navigation.

The Federal Court of Appeal overturned the ruling, saying that
including the duty to consult in the legislative process
offends the doctrine of the separation of powers and the
principle of parliamentary privilege.

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