“The straw that broke the camel’s back”: Sprawling omnibus bills spark lawsuit

Published in Windspeaker newspaper | January 2013 | Circulation: 145,000

As Idle No More explodes across the country–galvanized, at least initially, by controversial omnibus legislation–two First Nations in Alberta have taken the federal government to court over the matter.

On Jan. 8, arguing that the Crown’s “failure to consult” on the sweeping bills–affecting everything from the protection of waterways, fisheries, industrial development and more–violated their treaty rights, Mikisew and Frog Lake first nations launched a legal challenge against the newest legislation, Bill C-45, and its equally controversial predecessor, Bill C-38.

“There’s been so much legislation pushed by us without any proper consultation with us over the years,” Chief Steve Courtoreille of Mikisew First Nation told Windspeaker. “It’s impacted our treaty rights. C-38 and C-45 were just the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

“The federal government continues to ignore us. They have put us in a position where we have no other choice to protect our treaty rights, and also to protect the environment. It put us in a reactive mode; we had no other choice than to take a legal challenge.”

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