Thursday, August 30, 2007

Supreme Court to Hear Aboriginal Claim of How Feds Dealt With Band Monies From Oil and Gas Revenues

The Supreme Court of Canada has allowed an Appeal on the Crown’s handling of oil and gas royalties paid to the Feds on behalf of the Pigeon Lake Reserve pursuant to Treaty 6. The issue is around common law trust obligation of the Crown for the control and management of the Band’s funds from oil and gas under Reserve lands.

This is going to be a case worth following!

Here is the Note from Eugene Meehan of the law firm of Lang Michener on the case:

The Applicants commenced an action against the Crown respecting its management of royalties and interest on those royalties from an oil and gas field underlying the Pigeon Lake Reserve. The Applicants submitted that the Crown breached trust obligations relating to the control and management of their monies. The action against the Crown was dismissed on the basis that the Crown met all of its obligations as trustee of the Applicants’ royalties. A majority of the Fed. C.A. dismissed the appeals. Issues here include: did the Treaty give rise to common law trust obligations; did the provisions of ss. 61 to 68 of the Indian Act and Orders-in-Council under s. 61(2) infringe or are inconsistent with the constitutionalized treaty rights of the Indian parties to Treaty No. 6; does s. 15 of the Charter protect only “personal rights” as distinct from collective or communal rights of First Nation members; what is the duty of the Crown to consult with First Nations.Chief Victor Buffalo, et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada et al.(Fed. C.A., December 20, 2006) (31869) "with costs".