CALGARY, May 15, 2012 /CNW/ - The Missanabie Cree First Nation has achieved a major leap forward in its attempt to remedy a century old wrong relating to the Crown's failure to provide the Missanabie Cree with reserve land pursuant to the terms of Treaty No. 9 entered into in 1905 and 1906. The Aboriginal law firm of Maurice Law in Calgary has represented the Missanabie Cree for years in pursuit of a fair and just settlement of its claim against Her Majesty The Queen in right of Canada ("Canada") and the Province of Ontario ("Ontario"). Protracted efforts to negotiate a settlement of the Missanabie Cree's claim for land owed under Treaty 9 and compensation for losses suffered for over a century proved unsuccessful.
As a result of the impasse in negotiations, the Missanabie Cree had no choice but to pursue its claim in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Maurice Law brought an application for an Order for Advance Costs to provide the Missanabie Cree with the necessary financial means to move the case through the courts. In a decision of the Honourable Madam Justice Stewart on December 5, 2011, the Missanabie Cree was granted an Order for Advance Costs which requires the federal and provincial Crowns to pay the First Nation's reasonable legal costs and disbursements throughout the trial process. The courts only grant advance costs orders in rare and exceptional cases, so the Missanabie Cree and its legal team are very happy that the Court found that the principles of justice supported its application in this case.
Canada recently sought to appeal the Decision of Madam Justice Stewart. The leave motion was heard on May 2, 2012 before the Honourable Madam Justice Sachs and on May 3, 2012, she dismissed Canada's motion for leave to appeal.
The Missanabie Cree look forward to moving this matter forward expeditiously in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Chief Kim Rainville said that "this is an important day for the Missanabie Cree First Nation. Given our limited financial resources, this order of costs will promote access to justice for our people. Without an order which compels Canada and Ontario to pay our reasonable legal costs, we would not otherwise be able to afford the cost of a trial to determine how much land we are entitled to under the terms of Treaty 9."
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