Edmontonians closely watching landmark cases as potential turning points for Indigenous
The Supreme Court of Canada heard appeals on two cases with potentially far-reaching implications for the rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada on Thursday.
The Supreme Court issued a ruling in one of the cases: Courtoreille v. Canada.
That case stems from a 2015 lawsuit filed by the Mikisew Cree First Nation, which argued that the former Conservative government should have consulted them when making changes to Canada’s environmental protection and regulatory laws.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that federal ministers do not have to consult Indigenous groups when drafting legislation because it would interfere with a separation of power and allow the courts to “improperly trespass onto the legislature’s domain.”
The other appeal heard by Canada’s top court relates to an order from the Alberta Court of Appeal in 2015 for a retrial in the case of Cindy Gladue, an Indigenous woman who was found dead in an Edmonton hotel room in 2011.
Although Gladue’s accused killer Bradley Barton was acquitted, the Alberta Court of Appeal found the trial judge erred in allowing evidence relating to Gladue’s sexual history to open the door to racist and sexist stereotypes, which tainted the jury’s deliberations.
During the trial, Gladue was referred to as a “prostitute” 25 times and as a “Native” 26 times. Read about how Barton is appealing the order for a retrial in the full story at thestar.com/edmonton
Courtoreille v. Canada decides whether Indigenous people should be consulted on legislation.