(Representatives from the Wolastoq Grand Council and their allies, including several members of the Council of Canadians - Fredericton chapter, attended the courtroom session in Woodstock, N.B., June 13, 2017)
Grand Chief Ron Tremblay and the Wolastoq Grand Council are moving closer in the Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick to speak on behalf of the plants and animals in Mount Carleton Provincial Park.
In their 3rd court appearance, Judge Richard G. Petrie granted their motion for adjournment from today's scheduled hearing for a judicial review. This decision will allow for more time to prepare the complexities of this case and to consolidate all the information into one set of documents from each party.
Just last week, 5 new affidavits were submitted by the applicant and 1 new affidavit by the Government of New Brunswick. These affidavits provide additional expert information that is used to support the original briefs submitted by both sides.
"The Wolastoq Grand Council now has an opportunity to amend their application in order to include their religious rights of the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1725, something which has never been done before in a Canadian court," says Dr. Jean Louis Deveau, one of the plaintiffs in the court case. "The Peace and Friendship treaties are unique to Eastern North America. It is important to include their relevance in this court case."
This case is being heard in the Woodstock Court House in Woodstock, New Brunswick. This is the second highest court in New Brunswick next to the New Brunswick Court of Appeal. During today's hearing, the judge stressed the importance of this court challenge to both parties, the applicants and the Government of New Brunswick.
Judge Petrie asked for a summary of all concerns to be submitted 60 days from today, including any objections by the Government of New Brunswick to the judicial review. The judge will then hold a conference with the lawyers. At this conference, the judge may also schedule a court date for the judicial review.
The judicial review - the court hearing of arguments by both sides - will take at least 1 day and could likely take up to 2 days. Judge Petrie asked for new briefs to be submitted no less than 7 days before the judicial review.
The fundraising effort continues to pay for the ongoing legal bills. To date, the Wolastoq Grand Council has raised just over $20,000 of their $25,000 goal. All donations are gratefully accepted at the GoFundMe webpage for this court case. To find this website using Google, search for "Plants & Animals take on N.B. Gov't"
(1) PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP TREATIES
New Brunswick and Indigenous people in this province are bound by pre-Confederation treaties called the Peace and Friendship treaties. We are all treaty people under these legally-binding documents.
Before Canada was created, Nation-to-Nation treaties were signed by the British crown and the Indigenous people living on large portions of Eastern North America. The Peace and Friendship treaties were signed by Traditional Life Long Chiefs from the Eastern Waponahki (Wabanaki) Confederacy that includes Panuwapskewiyik (Penobscot), Aponahkewiyik (Abenaki), Peskotomuhkatiyik (Passamaquoddy), Mihkomak (Mi’kmaq) and Wolastoqewiyik (Maliseet).
The importance of these pre-Confederation treaties cannot be overstated. No treaties have ever ceded land away from the Indigenous people of New Brunswick, and all current treaties are protected in Section 35 of our Canadian Constitution.