Mi’kmaq Appeal Mill River Decisionby Tammy MacDonald
The following is distributed by the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI
For Immediate Release
Charlottetown, PEI — 30 August 2018
Mi’kmaq Appeal Mill River Decision
The Mi’kmaq of Prince Edward Island are appealing the Supreme Court of PEI decision in relation to the Mill River Judicial Review Application. After community engagement and a thorough review with legal counsel, the Mi’kmaq Leadership has decided to appeal the matter to the Prince Edward Island Court of Appeal. The Mi’kmaq believe that the Applications judge made significant legal errors in the reasons for judgement released on June 25th. To protect the constitutionally entrenched Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Indigenous Mi’kmaq of PEI the appeal is necessary.
“We will continue to work with the Provincial Government in a cooperative partnership on many issues and we remain committed to negotiations as the best path to the recognition and implementation of our Aboriginal and treaty rights. However, we are entrusted to uphold and protect the rights of our Mi’kmaq citizens, including our assertion of Aboriginal title and holding government accountable regarding the duty to consult. On behalf of the PEI Mi’kmaq, our Band Councils must appeal what we see as a fundamentally flawed decision,” said Chief Brian Francis of the Abegweit Mi’kmaw Nation. “We understand that the road to protecting our constitutionally entrenched Mi’kmaq rights may very well be a long one, but we are committed to standing up for the Mi’kmaq of this province. We also understand that many of the most critical decisions supporting the First Nations in this country were made on appeal, including at the Supreme Court of Canada level,” said Chief Matilda Ramjattan of the Lennox Island First Nation.
As set out in the Notice of Appeal, we believe the Applications judge made a number of errors in law in his interpretation of fundamental Aboriginal law principles and key court decisions respecting the duty to consult, and therefore feel a review by the Court of Appeal is necessary”, said David Rosenberg, legal counsel for the Mi’kmaq.
The Mi’kmaq of P.E.I. v. Province of P.E.I. judicial review decision was delivered by Justice Gordon Campbell on June 25, 2018. The Mi’kmaq of P.E.I. filed an appeal of that decision with the Prince Edward Island Court of Appeal on August 30, 2018.
The Abegweit Mi’kmaq Nation and the Lennox Island First Nation Band Councils are the elected representatives of the Mi’kmaq of PEI. The Mi’kmaq of PEI are the Indigenous rights holders under Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
The Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI serves as the common forum for the PEI First Nations and is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of the full Band Councils of the Abegweit Mi’kmaw Nation and the Lennox Island First Nation.
David Rosenberg, Q.C. (www.rklitigation.ca) is a litigator with the Vancouver law firm Rosenberg Kosakoski. He has been senior, lead counsel on several major appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada in constitutional, civil, criminal and First Nation’s cases. Mr. Rosenberg successfully represented the Tsilhqot’in Nation in the seminal 2014 Supreme Court of Canada case, Tsilhqot’in vs. British Columbia, in which the Court made a declaration of Aboriginal title over approximately 2,000 square kilometres of land in central British Columbia.
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