Canada (Attorney General) v. Lameman

Supreme Court of Canada – [2008] 1 S.C.R. 372

Alberta Fiduciary dutyIdentityTreaties

Summary

The Court did not decide the case on its merits since it judged that it was statute barred.  The Court noted that the Aboriginals could have filed their application in the 1970s, and because they had failed to do so, it was now too late.

It was not well received by Aboriginal people, since in the 1970s a lot of them thought (or were told) they had no case because the law was not as evolved as it is today.

Issue

Did the Crown breach its fiduciary duty by omitting to clearly inform the Band members of the consequences of “taking script” and pressuring the leadership to surrender their tract of lands, and did it breach its treaty obligations  by not giving the full 48 square miles to the Band and by not distributing a sufficient amount of food?


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R. v. Badger

Supreme Court of Canada – [1996] 1 S.C.R. 771

Alberta Application of laws to AboriginalsTreaties

Summary

This case summarizes and specifies the legal framework surrounding the interpretation and application of historical treaty rights.

The Court insists on the honour of the Crown in its dealings with Indians, and reiterates that it is up to the Crown to prove, by an absolute evidence, that an aboriginal or treaty right has been extinguished by a clear and plain intention by the government.

Issue

  1. Has the right to hunt on Treaty 8 land been extinguished?
  2. If not, can it be exercised on privately owned lands situated in Treaty No. 8 territory?
  3. Does the Wildlife Act apply to status Indians under Treaty No. 8?


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R. v. Wells

Supreme Court of Canada – [2000] 1 S.C.R. 207

Alberta Criminal law

Summary

This case completes Gladue, delivered the year before.

While Gladue establishes the criteria to consider when determining the sentence for an aboriginal offender, Wells explains that when the infraction is very serious and that deterrence is needed, the appropriate sentence might be the same whether the offender is Aboriginal or not

Issue

Is incarceration a justified sentence for an aboriginal offender, when denunciation and deterrence are the main objectives to attain?


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Mikisew Cree First Nation v. Canada (Minister of Canadian Heritage)

Supreme Court of Canada – [2005] 3 S.C.R. 388

Alberta ConsultationHonour of the CrownTreaties

Summary

Mikisew is a leading case in aboriginal law. The Court applied the consultation criteria established in Haïda and Taku River for the first time, here in a treaty case. The rules surrounding consultation when a treaty is involved were specified.

The honour of the Crown is omnipresent, and the duty to consult is engaged as soon as the Crown knows of a project that could harm Aboriginal peoples’ interests.

Issue

Did the Crown have a duty to consult the Mikisew Cree First Nation?


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Ermineskin Indian Band and Nation v. Canada

Supreme Court of Canada – [2009] 1 S.C.R. 222

Alberta Fiduciary dutyIndian ActTreaties

Summary

The fiduciary obligation of the Crown is not breached because it paid interest on Indian moneys instead of investing them in a diversified portfolio. The fiduciary obligation of the Crown requires the use of discretion in the best interests of the bands; however this does not necessitate investment.

Issue

Does the fiduciary obligation of the Crown necessitate the investment of royalties received on behalf of the Samson and Ermineskin Indian bands? If not, does its chosen method of calculation and payment of interest constitute a breach of the fiduciary duty?


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Alberta (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development) v. Cunningham

Supreme Court of Canada – [2011] 2 S.C.R. 670

Alberta Canadian Charter of Rights and FreedomsGovernance (self-determination, self-government)IdentityMétis

Summary

The Court determined that Métis could be refused rights guaranteed by the Metis Settlement Act upon registering as status Indians.

 This treatment could be considered a violation to the right to equality guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as it creates a distinction between Métis with Indian status and those without, but it comes from an ameliorative program with the goal of enriching the culture, identity and autonomy of the Métis.

Issue

Do the Métis Settlements Act violate the Charter? If yes, is this violation a reasonable limit imposed by a rule of law that is justified in a free and democratic society?


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Cardinal v. Attorney General of Alberta

Supreme Court of Canada – [1974] S.C.R. 695

Alberta Application of laws to AboriginalsJurisdiction over IndiansLands reserved for Indians

Summary

In this decision, the Supreme Court varied from U.S. law regarding the application of laws to Indian lands. In Canada, under certain conditions, provincial laws of general application can apply to Indians and on reserve lands.

Issue

Can a provincial law, in this case, the Wildlife Act, apply to Indians on an Indian reserve?


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R. v. Horseman

Supreme Court of Canada – [1990] 1 S.C.R. 901

Alberta Aboriginal rightsTreaties

Summary

This decision limits aboriginal hunting, trapping and fising rights protected by numbered treaties. The Court, however divided, refused to recognize that these rights had a commercial aspect.

Issue

Were the hunting rights given by Treaty No. 8 modified by the Alberta Natural Resources Transfer Agreement, making section 42 of the Wildlife Act inapplicable to treaty Indians?


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