Essay about Case Summary On Grassy Narrows
The appellants Grassy Narrows First Nations are descendants of Ojibway Treaty 3 signatories. They have maintained traditional territory in the Keewatin area of Northwestern Ontario and Eastern Manitoba. In 1873, the Ojibway entered into Treaty 3 with Canada that includes vast areas of modern Northwestern Ontario. Treaty 3 gave the Crown ownership of Ojibwa’s territory except for certain reserved lands in exchange for the Ojibway to have “the right to harvest the non-reserve lands” until the land is taken up or used up for settlement. Under Treaty 3, Grassy Narrows First Nations are entitled to hunt and fish within their territory, but have to surrender the land when it comes to taking up “for settlement, mining, lumbering or other purposes” by the Government of Canada.
In 1997, the province of Ontario issues a forestry license to a large pulp and paper manufacturer to clear-cut lands for forestry operation in the Keewatin area of the Treaty 3 land. In 2005, Grassy Narrows challenged this license for violating Treaty 3 harvesting rights. Subsequently, the trial judge established that taking up the clause in Treaty 3 requires a two-step process to determine whether Ontario could limit harvesting rights without the approval of the federal government. The appellant Grassy Narrows argued that Ontario cannot take up Treaty 3 lands since it involved federal jurisdiction under 91(24).
The trial judge affirmed this and used a two-part test to…