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Beaver Lake Cree Nation to argue key motion in massive treaty case
FYI: The hearing schedule in the Beaver Lake Cree constitutional challenge has changed. The hearing will begin on Tuesday,, February 19, at 9 a.m. Please see amended press release below.
WireService.ca Media Release (02/15/2019) Edmonton, AB on Treaty No. 6 Territory/Vancouver – From February 19 to February 21, Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Treaty No. 6 will be in court arguing a key motion whose outcome may well decide the fate of a massive Treaty challenge the Nation launched in 2008.
Location: Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, Edmonton
1A Sir Winston Churchill Square, Edmonton AB
Time: Hearing begins Tuesday, February 19, 9 a.m.
In the motion being argued on Feb 19, Beaver Lake Cree Nation seeks to have the federal and provincial governments ordered to pay the Nation’s costs in advance, in order to expedite a complex and precedent-setting Treaty rights case that has been stalled in the pre-trial stage for over a decade.
“For Beaver Lake Cree, this case is not about money. It is about enforcing a right to a way of life that is under relentless incursions from development such as forestry, oil sands and military installations,” said Chief Germaine Anderson. “This is not about saying no, this is about determining what development looks like in our territory, so that we’re able to sustain ourselves in perpetuity as promised in the Treaty, “for as long as the sun shines, rivers flow and grass grows,” for the future generations to come.”
In 2008, Beaver Lake Cree Nation, a small community of approximately 1,200, sued Canada and Alberta over infringements of Treaty rights due to multiple Crown authorizations of industrial, military and agricultural uses on more than half of Beaver Lake Cree territory, and rendering much of the remaining land inaccessible for Beaver Lake to carry out its way of life and practice its culture. Just over ten years and nearly $3 million later, despite two court decisions in favour of the Beaver Lake Cree, the litigation threatens to overwhelm the First Nation’s limited resources, while more lands are being lost to unchecked Crown-approved industrial development.
“Since 2008, Beaver Lake has committed every financial resource it has access to, to keep this challenge going. Though it has been arduous on the band’s finances, the Nation has committed to making budget cuts where appropriate in order to continue this fight for our Treaty rights, basic human rights and climate stabilization. As a community we take this challenge up for not only ourselves but all Treaty people, all of humanity and for the next seven generations,” said Beaver Lake Cree Treaty Coordinator, Crystal Lameman.
“At the current level of funding, which is not sustainable, the case either has an
unacceptably long horizon, or will die of attrition. This is a textbook example why advance cost orders exist – to level the playing field and mitigate vast disparity in power and resources between parties. We will be arguing that the governments should pay costs because this case is in the public interest of all Canadians,” said Beaver Lake Cree’s counsel Karey Brooks.
Chief Germaine Anderson – Please contact Crystal Lameman for interview requests
Treaty Coordinator Crystal Lameman – (780) 337 9262
Legal counsel Karey Brooks – (778) 990 8129
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