FSIN pleased Supreme Court re­fused to hear hunt­ing ap­peal

Regina Leader-Post - - CITY+REGION - ALEX MACPHER­SON amacpher­son@post­media.com Twit­ter.com/macpher­sona

SASKA­TOON The Fed­er­a­tion of Sovereign Indige­nous Na­tions calls it a vic­tory for treaty and in­her­ent rights.

The Supreme Court of Canada on Thurs­day de­clined to hear an ap­peal in the case of an Indige­nous man who was charged af­ter shoot­ing a moose on pri­vate land. The de­ci­sion means his lower court ac­quit­tal stands.

“We’ve al­ways main­tained that our treaties, our in­her­ent rights, have trumped pro­vin­cial law. They are of in­ter­na­tional law,” FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron told re­porters at a news con­fer­ence fol­low­ing the court’s de­ci­sion.

“It sends a strong mes­sage right across Canada for all our First Na­tions peo­ple that we were the orig­i­nal peo­ple of th­ese lands … It’s a mes­sage to all those that our in­her­ent and treaty rights are still alive and still strong.”

The Supreme Court’s de­ci­sion comes three years af­ter a Saskatchewan con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cer charged Krist­jan Pierone, who is from north­ern Man­i­toba, un­der the Wildlife Act for hunt­ing where

It sends a strong mes­sage right across Canada for all our First Na­tions peo­ple that we were the orig­i­nal peo­ple of th­ese lands.

he was not al­lowed.

Pierone had shot a bull moose in an un­cul­ti­vated slough about 70 me­tres off a grid road near Swift Cur­rent. The slough was on pri­vate

land that hadn’t been farmed for a few years; there was no fence and no signs pro­hibit­ing hunt­ing.

He was ac­quit­ted by a pro­vin­cial court judge, but the Crown ap­pealed and he was sub­se­quently con­victed by a Court of Queen’s Bench judge. The Saskatchewan Court of Ap­peal sub­se­quently over­turned that con­vic­tion.

Ap­peal Court Jus­tice Neal Cald­well found the Queen’s Bench judge made an er­ror in law, rul­ing that Pierone had the right to hunt in the slough be­cause it had not been “taken up” for any “vis­i­ble, in­com­pat­i­ble use.”

“It gives me a great feel­ing to

know I carry on that tra­di­tion,” Pierone told the Saska­toon Starphoenix ear­lier this year.

Cameron echoed that sen­ti­ment on Thurs­day, say­ing the case “hit home” for many First Na­tions hunters, in­clud­ing him­self. Asked how he ex­pects the de­ci­sion to be ap­plied in prac­tice, he em­pha­sized the need for com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

“We hope ev­ery­one is re­spect­ful, and we hope ev­ery­one is safe.”

The Supreme Court does not pro­vide rea­sons for its de­ci­sions. It awarded costs to Pierone for bring­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion.

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