Thursday, April 29, 2010

Native bands lose appeal on water rights

Native bands lose appeal on water rights

Posted By: Anthony Jay Henhawk Jr
To: Members in First Nations & Aboriginal Rights

Alberta's highest court has dismissed an appeal filed by the Tsuu T'ina Nation and Samson Cree Nation in their case against the province.

The two aboriginal communities -- the Tsuu T'ina bordering southwest Calgary, and Samson Cree in Hobbema north of Red Deer -- argued the province didn't properly consult them on the development of a water management plan for the South Saskatchewan River Basin, which was approved in August 2006.

The First Nations asked the Alberta Court of Appeal to overturn the previous ruling in favour of the province because Alberta's duty to consult hadn't been met.

In a 34-page decision, Justice Cliff O'Brien wrote that the province had, in fact, taken appropriate steps to consult with the First Nations.

He added that proceedings giving rise to the appeal were "not vehicles for determining the appellants' water rights."

O'Brien noted those issues are being presented before the Court of Queen's Bench in a different matter launched by the two First Nations.

"It seems reasonable that these issues, including the determination of appropriate relief, should be left to be dealt with in the context of the broader litigation," O'Brien wrote in the decision.

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