16 October

Kahnawake, Octobre 16th, 2018 – Quebec Native Women (QNW) denounces the decision of
the Supreme Court of Canada stating that federal ministers have no legal obligation to consult
with Indigenous groups when developing legislation. This decision was made following the
Mikisew Cree First Nation’s appeal against the federal government in connection to the
passage in 2012 of omnibus bills significantly changing Canada’s environmental protection

QNW is disappointed by the restrictive interpretation of the duty to consult adopted by the
Supreme Court. Reconciliation is not possible without a renewal of the relationship between
Indigenous people and the Government of Canada, through a nation-to-nation approach. This
undeniably includes consultation with First Nations in the process of developing laws affecting
their rights.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court preferred to maintain a colonial vision of the Canadian
state, to the detriment of recognizing and protecting the rights of Indigenous people. In the
absence of a legal obligation, the consultation of First Nations in the development of laws
affecting their rights remains subject to the discretion of governments, a discretion that too
often results in the absence of consultation.

QNW wishes to remind the Government of Canada that it has ratified the United Nations
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, committing itself to respect in particular:
● the right of Indigenous peoples to participate in decision-making in matters affecting
their rights (Article 18);
● the obligation of states to cooperate in good faith with Indigenous peoples prior to the
adoption of legislative measures that may affect them, in order to obtain their free,
prior and informed consent (Article 19).

“Consultation with Indigenous peoples on laws that may affect their rights should be
self-evident. This is all the more true now that Canada has passed Bill C-262 to ensure the
harmony of federal laws with the UN declaration,” highlighted Viviane Michel, President of
Quebec Native Women.

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Source : Miriam Fillion, Communication Officer
communication@faq-qnw.org | 450-632-0088, ext. 232