Federal court hands win to First Nations over Canadian gov't re contentious omnibus bills

Federal court hands win to First Nations over Canadian gov't re contentious omnibus bills

Image of a 2012 "Idle No More" protest, via YouTube.

Canada’s federal government should have consulted with First Nations before passing two omnibus budget bills that helped spark the widespread 2012 “Idle No More” protests, a judge has ruled.

The C-38 and C-45 bills, passed into law in June and December 2012, removed federal environmental oversight on most of the lakes, streams and rivers located in the Mikisew Cree First Nation’s traditional territory in northeastern Alberta.

The group’s victory, FortMcMurraytoday.com reports, will not affect the legislation already in effect, but it will require all governments to consult close-by First Nations in the future before the bills pass.

“No notice was given and no opportunity to make submissions was provided,” federal judge Roger Hughes wrote in his ruling. “The Crown ought to have given the Mikisew notice when each of the Bills were introduced into Parliament.”

The government has 30 days to appeal the decision.