Gregory Rich, Natuashish chief, on overcoming tragedy

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Gregory Rich, the newly-elected chief of Natuashish, says the support he received in battling his own demons has convinced him that it is time to give back to his community and address the Innu reserve’s deep social problems.

“February 14th, 1992. That’s when it hit me. That’s when I lost my children,” said Rich.

Rich was the father of five children who died in a house fire in the Innu community of Davis Inlet 21 years ago.

Rich and his wife, Agathe, were out drinking at the time. Their five children and a friend died alone.

“I can still picture it in my mind, I see smoke, flames, flames, a lot of flames, a lot of flames,” recalled Rich.

Davis Inlet tragedy

Gregory Rich’s five children and a friend died in a house fire in Davis Inlet, Labrador, on Feb. 14, 1992. (CBC)

The tragedy brought international attention to the grim conditions and social problems in Davis Inlet, and eventually led to the relocation of that community to Natuashish in 2002.

Rich battles suicidal thoughts, addictions

However, Rich almost did not survive the death of his children himself.

“There was a feeling of shame, guilt and I believe I failed as a parent to look after my kids. I decided to commit suicide the following day.”

Rich has credited an Innu elder for talking him out of it, but he still had huge personal problems to tackle.

He had grown up in Davis Inlet, where he started sniffing gas as a child, then graduated to alcohol and drug abuse, and started having children of his own when he was just a teenager.

It took Rich years to quit drinking for good and rebuild his life.

“I’ve taken steps to heal myself and I’m doing that on a daily basis.”

Giving back

Now, he has promised to rebuild Natuashish.

Fractious band politics and infighting have divided Natuashish, and the old problems of gas sniffing and alcohol abuse have made a comeback.

‘That’s the vision I have for my people, is to get better.’- Gregory Rich, Natuashish band chief 

Rich said he believes group counselling and frank dialogue is the way to help Natuashish to begin to heal.

“That’s the vision I have for my people, is to get better,” said Rich. “To get better and to make this community alive again, instead of a stand still.”

Supporters of Rich in Natuashish said they admire him for his calm demeanour, his ability to reflect, and his devotion to his family, especially his two foster children.

“Innu hardly say ‘I love you.’ I don’t know why is that,” said Rich. “But I use it daily with my kids.”

Rich said he and his wife want to thank their community for its support during their darkest days. Now, he says it’s his turn to give back to Natuashish in his new role as chief and help the community heal.

“In order for us to get better, we need to share our own experience, not by someone’s experience, but your own experience,” said Rich.

“That’s why I’m sharing this with you. I want them to know that I, I’m human, I’m only human. I have feelings, you know?”

Aboriginal groups fear for George River caribou herd

Source

Caribou swim across the George River. The river flows north to Ungava Bay from Lake Jannière, running just west of the Quebec/Labrador border. In the past four years, the George River caribou herd has declined by 80 per cent and there is still no cross-border management plan in place. (Wikimedia Commons)

Caribou swim across the George River. The river flows north to Ungava Bay from Lake Jannière, running just west of the Quebec/Labrador border. In the past four years, the George River caribou herd has declined by 80 per cent and there is still no cross-border management plan in place. (Wikimedia Commons)

The George River caribou herd, which migrates between northern Quebec and Labrador, has dropped by 80 per cent in the past four years, and there is still no cross-border management plan.

George River

The George River originates east of Shefferville in Quebec, flowing parallel to the Quebec/Labrador border. (Wikipedia)

​There are now about 14,200 animals left in the herd, down from 700,000 to 800,000 in the 1980s — a decline of 98 per cent over two decades in what was once the largest caribou herd in the world.

 

Thomas Shea remembers a time when caribou were plentiful in theKuujjuaq, Que. area.

“The land had veins everywhere, of trails of caribou,” says the president of Kuujjuaq’s Hunters and Trappers Organization. “Now those trails are no longer there.”

Shea places the blame squarely on commercial hunters, who he says kill large males for trophy antlers.

“The bulls are gone and they’re not reproducing anymore,” he says. “It’s very scary if we have to face that.”

He says an end to the sport hunt might be the only way to bring the George River herd back from the brink.

Legal win a  ‘step in the right direction’

Thomas Shea

Thomas Shea, the head of the hunters and trappers group in Kuujjuaq, Que., blames the decline of the George River caribou on trophy hunters. In the last four years, the herd’s population dropped by 80 per cent. (Shaun Malley/CBC)

Earlier this month, theQuebec Court of Appeal found the provincial government violated treaty rights when it set caribou sport hunting levels and dates for the 2011-2012 season in northern Quebec in spite of objections from Inuit, Cree and Naskapi.

Quebec now has to pay damages to the three groups.

Tunu Napartuk, Kuujjuaq’s mayor, says that’s good news.

“This is one step in the right direction. There’s preparations that we need to do in order to ensure that this herd continues to improve.”

Napartuk says he’s optimistic about the future of the herd.

The Newfoundland and Labrador government implemented a five-year ban on hunting caribou in Labrador in 2013 that remains in effect.

That ban included the aboriginal hunt.

But it applies only when the herd is in Labrador. The Newfoundland and Labrador government has no control over the animals when they migrate into Quebec.

A news release announcing the recent population survey says both provinces “have initiated discussions on the development of a joint management plan in collaboration with all resource users including aboriginal governments and organizations.”

‘More should have been done sooner’

Sarah Leo at house of assembly

‘Up until the province called a ban two years ago there was no real management plan for the George River Caribou herd,’ says Sarah Leo, president of Nunatsiavut. (CBC)

​Nunatsiavut President Sarah Leo says more should have been done sooner to protect the herd.

She says the caribou are culturally important and a critical food source for Labrador Inuit.

Leo says governments need to invest in finding out why the herd is dying out so quickly, and she hopes it’s not already too late.

“Up until the province called a ban two years ago there was no real management plan for the George River Caribou herd, so I think the numbers fell quickly. But more should have been done sooner. And let’s hope we can come up together with a really strong management plan that works for everyone.”

Leo says calving grounds in particular need to be protected.

She says all the stakeholders need to act now to preserve what’s left of the herd.

Labrador Innu chief: hunting ban not the answer

The newly elected Innu nation Grand Chief Anastasia Qupee says a hunting moratorium is not the answer.

She says there are many issues at play in the decline of the herd, including mining, hydroelectric development and climate change, and the government needs to look at the bigger picture instead of focusing on hunting.

“One of the elders said to me very clearly, he said ‘if they take away the caribou away from us,’ he said, ‘we are left to starve.’ So to me that needs to be discussed more and like we’ve said we’ve offered a management plan with the province, and to work with them, so a moratorium doesn’t solve the issue.”

Qupee says the Innu Nation has imposed guidelines within their own communities and they have guardians who supervise the caribou hunt.

Prime Minister unveils plan to upgrade internet in Northern Quebec

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English: Stephen Harper, Canadian Prime Minister

English: Stephen Harper, Canadian Prime Minister (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

In Pond Inlet, Nunavut, during the ninth annual Northern Tour, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced significant financial support to provide enhanced broadband access to approximately 12,000 households in Nunavut and the Nunavik region of northern Quebec. He was joined by James Moore, Minister of Industry, and Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Circle. The investment will advance the Government of Canada’s mission to promote social and economic development in the North, as outlined in Canada’s Northern Strategy.

The service improvements targeted by the Connecting Canadians programme will help bring modern internet applications and services within reach for Northerners, with targeted speeds of 3 to 5 Mbps to support access to e-commerce, high-resolution video, employment opportunities, distance education, and other online benefits. Currently, the communities in Nunavut and the Nunavik region of northern Quebec rely on satellite service for broadband connections. The leases to provide these satellite services expire in 2016. Today’s announcement will ensure satellite broadband remains available for these communities after 2016, and will improve internet speeds for Northerners.

The first phase of Connecting Canadians, creating updated maps of broadband coverage available across Canada, began on 22 July. Once this mapping exercise is complete, a call for applications will be issued in the fall, with approved projects announced in spring 2015.

Québec Court Of Appeal Upholds Priority Of Treaty Rights Of Aboriginal Peoples Under James Bay And Northern Québec Agreement

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English: Pic for WikiProject Political parties...

English: Pic for WikiProject Political parties and politicians in Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

On August 4, 2014, the Court of Appeal of Québec issued an important judgement upholding the priority of the treaty rights of the Cree, Inuit and Naskapis of Québec under Section 24 of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement(JBNQA).

The Court of Appeal strongly endorsed the primacy of the treaty rights of the Cree, Inuit and Naskapis under the JBNQA as protected by the Constitution Act, 1982.  Laws or acts of the Crown that violate these treaty rights are generally without effect.  The judgement recognizes the priority of Aboriginal harvesting rights under the JBNQA over sports hunting.  It holds that consultation by the Crown must be meaningful, carried out in good faith and with an open mind.  Failure by the Crown to meet these obligations is a breach of its constitutional obligations and the honour of the Crown and gives rise to reparation for the Aboriginal parties affected.

The Court of Appeal granted the appeal of Makivik Corporation, the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/Cree Nation Government, and the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach in the case of Makivik et al v. Québec regarding the violation by Québec of the consultation process set out in Section 24 of the JBNQA in its decisions regarding the 2011-2012 sports hunt of the Leaf River and George River caribou herds.

Given a dramatic decline in the population of the Leaf River and George River caribou herds, the Hunting Fishing Trapping Coordinating Committee, a body comprising representatives of the Cree, Inuit, Naskapi, Québec and Canada established by Section 24 of the JBNQA, recommended certain restrictions on the sport hunt for the 2011-2012 season.

The Québec Minister responsible for wildlife disregarded the recommendations of the Committee.  Without consulting the Committee, as provided for in Section 24, the Minister unilaterally changed the start date for the sports hunt for the Leaf River herd recommended by the Committee and allowed the sports hunt of the George River herd, contrary to the total prohibition recommended by the Committee.  The Native Parties took legal proceedings to challenge these acts by the Minister.

At trial, the Superior Court of Québec found that the Minister had failed to comply with the consultation requirements of Section 24 of the JBNQA.  However, it held that this non‑compliance was merely a procedural irregularity and so declined to declare that the Minister had breached his obligations under the JBNQA.

The Court of Appeal set aside the decision of the Superior Court and found that the Minister had breached his constitutional obligations and the honour of the Crown by violating the rights of the Aboriginal parties to be consulted under Section 24 of the JBNQA.

In reasons for judgement written by Mr. Justice Dalphond, the Court of Appeal held that the JBNQA, as a land claim agreement and treaty, creates rights for the Aboriginal peoples that are protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.  Any law violating these treaty rights will generally be without effect, unless justified by government.

The Crown’s obligation to consult regarding Aboriginal rights is not merely procedural; it demands, as well, the openness of mind necessary to make it meaningful.  This also applies to any consultation prescribed by a treaty in a manner respectful of the honour of the Crown codified by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.  Non-compliance by the Minister with the consultation process set out in Section 24 on the basis that it would not be useful or would not change the final result therefore violated his constitutional obligations.

This was not a purely procedural defect, but a breach of the honour of the Crown by failing to consult with an open mind in implementing a treaty that provides for a mechanism to reconcile the interests of the Aboriginal peoples.  The Minister was bound to consult in good faith before exercising his regulatory power, and to be receptive to the opinions and recommendations of the Coordinating Committee.

Québec did not demonstrate that these violations were justified within the meaning of the Sparrow judgement of the Supreme Court.  Treaty rights may not be violated lightly; the proof of justification must be clear and convincing.

This is particularly true when, as in the case of the George River herd, the way of life of the Aboriginal peoples is in opposition to the financial interests of outfitters offering a recreational activity to non-Natives.  The Court of Appeal stated that these interests do not have to be reconciled, as the way of life of the Aboriginal peoples clearly takes precedence over recreational hunting, as provided for in the Agreement.

The Minister’s position that there was a need for urgent conservation measures was therefore contrary to the priority recognized for the Aboriginal peoples by the JBNQA (and the Aboriginal rights in the absence of such a treaty, as held inTsilhqot’in Nation).  To try to reconcile the conservation of a herd necessary for the survival of Aboriginal peoples and the interests of outfitters was an operation forbidden by the Agreement and contrary to its spirit.

The Court of Appeal reserved the rights of the Native Parties to claim compensation for any harm suffered by the breaches.

Jean-Sébastien Clément and Catherine Fagan of Gowlings represent the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/Cree Nation Government in this case.

Click here to see the judgment Corporation Makivik et al v. Québec, 2014 QCCA 1455.

Quebec to hold public hearings on province’s uranium industry

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A billet of highly enriched uranium that was r...

A billet of highly enriched uranium that was recovered from scrap processed at the Y-12 National Security Complex Plant. Original and unrotated. Source: http://web.em.doe.gov/takstock/phochp3a.html (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quebec will start holding public inquiries on the province’s uranium industry next week in an effort to iron out the issues concerning the industry in the province, with the help of specialists and resource persons.

Created by the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE), the question and information phase of the commission’s inquiry would start on September 3 in Mistissini, northern Quebec, from where it would move to Quebec City for two-and-a-half weeks and end back in the far north of the province, in Kangiqsualujjuaq, on September 25.

The commission would be chaired by Louis-Gilles Francoeur and include Michele Goyerand Joseph Zayed. The commission would also work with the James Bay Advisory Committee on the Environment and the Kativik Environmental Advisory Committee.

The commission’s mandate would be to examine all aspects of the uranium mining sector – from exploration, mining, environmental, health and governance to storage, emergencies and long-term impacts, as well as other issues.

After a year of legal wrangling with the Quebec government and local First Nations, Quebec-based uranium explorer Strateco Resources in June said it was forced to adopt a cost-cutting programme and shutter its flagship Matoush camp in the Otish mountains, in the north of the province.

The Boucherville, Quebec-based firm blamed the Quebec government’s refusal to issue the final permit needed to start the advanced exploration phase of the Matoush project for its decision. The project has been on standby for over a year, since a moratorium was placed on issuing exploration, development or mining permits for uranium projects in the province on March 28, 2013, until an independent study of the impacts of uranium was completed.

Innu Nation calls early election

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Grand chief claims there are tensions within the board

The Innu Nation has called an early election for its members in Natuashish and Sheshatshiu.

Grand Chief Prote Poker said they could have waited another year to finish their term. But he and the board of directors thought it best to clean the slate due to ongoing tensions and conflict.

“There’s problems, we have … in-fighting within the board. And there’s also requests from the communities that they want a general election,” said Poker.

The Innu of Labrador will get a chance to select their leaders on Aug. 15.

The decision to call an election came during an Innu Nation board meeting on July 12 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Poker would not go into detail about the problems surrounding the Innu Nation.

“There’s a lot of personal issues that came up and I don’t think they should be mentioned,” said Poker.

“There’s a lot of allegations and stuff like that. And we don’t want to go through another year with that. So we decided to hold an election and see what happens.”

But one of the controversies, concerning Deputy Grand Chief Jeremy Andrew, has already been aired publicly.

On July 3, Poker sent a memo to Innu Nation board members to inform them that Andrew was still the deputy grand chief, despite the fact that he verbally resigned during a June board meeting.

The memo was later obtained by The Labradorian.

According to Poker in the memo, only written resignations can be accepted.

“Our bylaw requires that a director (which includes the deputy grand chief) can only resign if he or she submits their resignation in writing,” he wrote. “The deputy grand chief has not done so. He is therefore still the deputy grand chief and is still on the payroll and is entitled to be paid accordingly.”

In an interview, Poker said Andrew must have had a change of heart about resigning, since he never did so via letter.

Poker also defended Andrew from allegations that he wasn’t showing up for work at the Innu Nation office. According to Poker, Andrew had no choice but to work from home because there was a threat of protests.

“He was working out of his house because there was people threatening to shut down the office if he comes to work …” said Poker.

“We don’t want to see destruction of the office if he goes there.”

The Labradorian made numerous attempts to contact Andrew, but he did not return calls by deadline.

During the Aug. 15 election, the two Innu communities will select a grand chief, deputy grand chief, and 12 other members to the board of directors — six from each community.

The position of grand chief was held in Natuashish, and the deputy grand chief position was in Sheshatshiu. Now, with the election, the communities will trade the positions.

Since Poker lives in Natuashish, he said he can’t be re-elected as grand chief. He is not yet sure if he will seek the deputy grand chief position.

Despite calling for an early election, Poker believes the Innu Nation board of directors did a good job during their shortened term.

“I think we did what we set out to do and I think it calls for a new administration to take over.”

Québec Court of Appeal upholds Cree, Inuit and Naskapi treaty rights

Source

English: Campsite on George River, Quebec Fran...

English: Campsite on George River, Quebec Français : Tente près de la rivière George, Québec (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MONTREALAug. 11, 2014 /CNW/ – The Cree, Inuit and Naskapi scored an important victory on August 4, 2014, when the Québec Court of Appeal declared the provincial government had violated their treaty rights when it set caribou sport hunting levels and dates in Northern Québec for the 2011-2012 season.

If governments fail to respect the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (JBNQA) with the Cree and the Inuit or the Northeastern Québec Agreement (NEQA) with the Naskapi – land claims agreements signed in 1975 and 1978 – their decisions will usually be struck down, the province’s highest court ruled.

“Such is the price to be paid for preserving the honour of the Crown in carrying out treaties and in the protected nature of treaty rights,” wrote Justice Pierre Dalphond for a unanimous court.

In March 2011, Québec’s Minister of Natural Resources announced he would change the sports hunting season for the Leaf River caribou herd and set the level for the George River herd in JBNQA territory without waiting for the advice of the Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Coordinating Committee, an advisory body created under the JBNQA with equal representation by the Native parties and the federal and provincial governments.

Caribou are a very important wildlife resource in the JBNQA territory and the Cree, Inuit and Naskapi all rely on it. Both the Leaf River and the George River herds are in decline and the Native parties wanted Québec to close or reduce the sports hunt.

The Court of Appeal held that the Minister’s decision to flout the process set out in the JBNQA stemmed from administrative priorities and a desire to accommodate the outfitters that serve the non-Native sports hunters.  But the Court held that, under the JBNQA treaty, the traditional way of life of the Aboriginal peoples takes clear precedence over sports hunting.

“Makivik is very pleased that the appeal court strongly reiterated the obligations of the federal and provincial governments in regards to hunting, fishing and trapping provisions,” said Makivik Corporation‘s Vice-President for Renewable Resources, Adamie Delisle Alaku. “Hunting caribou forms an integral part of traditional and current Inuit livelihood and must be protected.”

“The Cree Nation welcomes this clear affirmation by the Court of Appeal of the primacy of the treaty rights of the Cree, Inuit and Naskapis.  It shows that Government must respect its treaty promises.  It recognizes the priority of the Aboriginal peoples’ treaty rights to hunt, fish and trap over non-Native sports hunting and to co-manage the wildlife resources in Northern Québec.  This judgment charts a clear course for the respect of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement in the years to come”, states the Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), Dr. Matthew Coon Come.

“The Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach welcomes the Court of Appeal’s judgment as the unequivocal recognition of the constitutional nature of the rights of the Naskapi under the Northeastern Québec Agreement. The George and Leaf River caribou herds are of paramount importance to our culture and traditions and we will always strive to ensure their protection”, says Noah Swappie, Chief of the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach.

Judgment:

Corporation Makivik c. Québec (Procureure générale), 2014 QCCA 1455, http://canlii.ca/t/g8gdt

BACKGROUNDER: QUÉBEC COURT OF APPEAL JUDGMENT IN CORPORATION MAKIVIK C. QUÉBEC (PROCUREURE GÉNÉRALE)

About Makivik Corporation:

Makivik Corporation is a nonprofit corporation created pursuant to the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (1975) and mandated to represent the social, political and economic interests and well-being of Nunavik Inuit. Makivik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty and education of Inuit in Nunavik communities. Makivik is a signatory of the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (2008).

About the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee):

The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) represents the approximately 19,000 Crees of eastern James Bayand southern Hudson Bay in Northern Quebec. The Grand Council has twenty members: a Grand Chief and Deputy-Grand Chief elected at large by the Eeyouch, the chiefs elected by each of the nine Cree communities, and one other representative from each community.

About the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach:

The Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach’s traditional territory spans across part of Northern Québec and Western Labrador. The Naskapi Nation has a population of approximately 1,056 registered members, most of whom live permanently in the community of Kawawachikmach, located 14 km northeast of the Town of Schefferville on the Québec-Labrador border. The Naskapi Nation is a signatory of the Northeastern Québec Agreement (1978).

On August 4, 2014, the Court of Appeal of Québec issued an important judgement upholding the priority of the treaty rights of the Cree, Inuit and Naskapis of Québec under Section 24 of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (JBNQA).

The Court of Appeal strongly endorsed the primacy of the treaty rights of the Cree, Inuit and Naskapis under the JBNQA as protected by the Constitution Act, 1982.  Laws or acts of the Crown that violate these treaty rights are generally without effect.  The judgement recognizes the priority of Aboriginal harvesting rights under the JBNQA over sports hunting.  It holds that consultation by the Crown must be meaningful, carried out in good faith and with an open mind.  Failure by the Crown to meet these obligations is a breach of its constitutional obligations and the honour of the Crown and gives rise to reparation for the Aboriginal parties affected.

The Court of Appeal granted the appeal of Makivik Corporation, the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)/Cree Nation Government, and the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach in the case of Makivik et al v. Québec regarding the violation by Québec of the consultation process set out in Section 24 of the JBNQA in its decisions regarding the 2011-2012 sports hunt of the Leaf River and George River caribou herds.

Given a dramatic decline in the population of the Leaf River and George River caribou herds, the Hunting Fishing Trapping Coordinating Committee, a body comprising representatives of the Cree, Inuit, Naskapi, Québec andCanada established by Section 24 of the JBNQA, recommended certain restrictions on the sport hunt for the 2011-2012 season.

The Québec Minister responsible for wildlife disregarded the recommendations of the Committee.  Without consulting the Committee, as provided for in Section 24, the Minister unilaterally changed the start date for the sports hunt for the Leaf River herd recommended by the Committee and allowed the sports hunt of the George River herd, contrary to the total prohibition recommended by the Committee.  The Native Parties took legal proceedings to challenge these acts by the Minister.

At trial, the Superior Court of Québec found that the Minister had failed to comply with the consultation requirements of Section 24 of the JBNQA.  However, it held that this non‑compliance was merely a procedural irregularity and so declined to declare that the Minister had breached his obligations under the JBNQA.

The Court of Appeal set aside the decision of the Superior Court and found that the Minister had breached his constitutional obligations and the honour of the Crown by violating the rights of the Aboriginal parties to be consulted under Section 24 of the JBNQA.

In reasons for judgement written by Mr. Justice Dalphond, the Court of Appeal held that the JBNQA, as a land claim agreement and treaty, creates rights for the Aboriginal peoples that are protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.  Any law violating these treaty rights will generally be without effect, unless justified by government.

The Crown’s obligation to consult regarding Aboriginal rights is not merely procedural; it demands, as well, the openness of mind necessary to make it meaningful.  This also applies to any consultation prescribed by a treaty in a manner respectful of the honour of the Crown codified by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.  Non-compliance by the Minister with the consultation process set out in Section 24 on the basis that it would not be useful or would not change the final result therefore violated his constitutional obligations.

This was not a purely procedural defect, but a breach of the honour of the Crown by failing to consult with an open mind in implementing a treaty that provides for a mechanism to reconcile the interests of the Aboriginal peoples.  The Minister was bound to consult in good faith before exercising his regulatory power, and to be receptive to the opinions and recommendations of the Coordinating Committee.

Québec did not demonstrate that these violations were justified within the meaning of the Sparrow judgement of the Supreme Court.  Treaty rights may not be violated lightly; the proof of justification must be clear and convincing.

This is particularly true when, as in the case of the George River herd, the way of life of the Aboriginal peoples is in opposition to the financial interests of outfitters offering a recreational activity to non-Natives.  The Court of Appeal stated that these interests do not have to be reconciled, as the way of life of the Aboriginal peoples clearly takes precedence over recreational hunting, as provided for in the Agreement.

The Minister’s position that there was a need for urgent conservation measures was therefore contrary to the priority recognized for the Aboriginal peoples by the JBNQA (and the Aboriginal rights in the absence of such a treaty, as held in Tsilhqot’in Nation).  To try to reconcile the conservation of a herd necessary for the survival of Aboriginal peoples and the interests of outfitters was an operation forbidden by the Agreement and contrary to its spirit.

The Court of Appeal reserved the rights of the Native Parties to claim compensation for any harm suffered by the breaches.