Ecojustice is thrilled about yesterday’s decision from Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice regarding protection from clear cut logging for the treaty rights belonging to Grassy Narrows First Nation (Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek).
This landmark decision comes at the end of more than a decade of legal battles. The case was originally launched by Ecojustice (then Sierra Legal Defence Fund) and Robert Janes (a private bar lawyer who has remained Counsel for the Grassy Narrows trappers) in 2000.
Although Ecojustice’s involvement in the litigation was much reduced after our original summary process was quashed in 2003, our lawyers and communications staff have continued to be involved as our capacity has allowed.
Yesterday’s decision responds to the very questions that Ecojustice was originally seeking to have answered for the three trappers from Grassy Narrows First Nation. The trappers (on behalf of themselves and their First Nation) were arguing that the government of Ontario cannot infringe on their constitutionally protected rights to hunt, trap and fish by allowing a forestry company to clear-cut the Whiskey Jack Forest, located 80 kilometres north of Kenora.
In a 300+ page decision from Madam Justice Mary-Anne Sanderson the “stage has been set” for adequate recognition for the treaty rights of the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation. Ecojustice will be continuing to follow this case with great interest.