R. v. Sioui, (1990) 109 N.R. 22 (SCC)

JudgeDickson, C.J.C., Lamer, Wilson, La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory and McLachlin, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateMay 24, 1990
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1990), 109 N.R. 22 (SCC);[1990] SCJ No 48 (QL);30 OAC 280;[1990] 1 SCR 1025;10 WCB (2d) 203;JE 90-823;30 QAC 280;109 NR 22;1990 CanLII 103 (SCC);56 CCC (3d) 225;[1990] 3 CNLR 127;70 DLR (4th) 427;[1990] ACS no 48

R. v. Sioui (1990), 109 N.R. 22 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

.........................

Le Procureur général du Québec (appelant) c. Régent Sioui, Conrad Sioui, Georges Sioui et Hugues Sioui (intimés) et Le Procureur général du Canada et la Fraternité des Indiens du Canada/l'Assemblée des Premières nations (intervenants)

(20628)

Indexed As: R. v. Sioui

Supreme Court of Canada

Dickson, C.J.C., Lamer, Wilson, La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory and McLachlin, JJ.

May 24, 1990.

Summary:

The respondents were four duly registered Huron Indians. They were charged with having illegally cut trees, camped and made fires in the Jacques-Cartier Provincial Park (Qué.) the whole in violation of a Regulation adopted under the Parks Act (Qué.). The respondents did not contest on the facts the charges made against them. However, in defence, the respondents relied on an alleged treaty signed on September 5, 1760 by General Murray, then Governor of the City and District of Québec. That alleged treaty allowed the Hurons "the free Exercise of their Religion, their Customs, and Liberty of trading with the English". The respondents argued that they were conducting religious and customary activities protected by the alleged treaty which, by reason of s. 88 of the Indian Act (Can.), had precedence over provincial law and rendered inoperative the provincial Regulations under which they were charged.

The respondents were found guilty by the Court of Sessions of the Peace. See J.E. 83-722.

An appeal by way of trial de novo at the Superior Court was dismissed. See J.E. 85-947.

An appeal to the Québec Court of Appeal was allowed. See [1987] R.J.Q. 1722; 8 Q.A.C. 189. The Attorney General of Québec appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal.

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 4402

Treaties and proclamations - What constitutes a treaty - On September 5, 1760, near the end of the Seven Years War between the British and the French, the Hurons of Lorette decided to submit to the British king and make peace - They were received by General Murray, then Governor of the City and District of Québec - In return for peace with the Hurons, Murray signed a document which, among others, allowed the Hurons "the free Exercise of their Religion, their Customs, and Liberty of trading with the English" - Was this document a treaty within the meaning of s. 88 of the Indian Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-5? - The Supreme Court of Canada answered yes because the document evidenced reciprocal obligations to which the parties intended to comply - See paragraphs 43 to 47.

Indiens, Inuit et Métis - Cote 4402

Traités et proclamations - Eléments constitutifs d'un traité - [Voir Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 4402].

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 4403

Treaties and proclamations - Capacity to make a treaty - On September 5, 1760, near the end of the Seven Years War between the British and the French, the Hurons of Lorette decided to submit to the British king and make peace - They were received by General Murray, then Governor of the City and District of Québec and highest-ranked available officer of the British authorities - Murray signed a document which, among others, allowed the Hurons "the free Exercise of their Religion, their Customs and Liberty of trading with the English" - Assuming that this document was a treaty within the meaning of s. 88 of the Indian Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-5, did the Hurons, the British and Murray have capacity to make a treaty? - The Supreme Court of Canada held that capacity must be evaluated from the Hurons' perspective and answered yes - See paragraphs 21 to 42.

Indiens, Inuit et Métis - Cote 4403

Traités et proclamations - Capacité de conclure un traité - [Voir Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 4403].

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 4408

Treaties and proclamations - Where applicable - Four Huron Indians were charged with having illegally cut trees, camped and made fires in the Jacques-Cartier Provincial Park (Qué.) the whole in violation of provincial legislation - In defence, the Hurons argued that they were conducting religious and customary activities protected by a treaty signed by the British in 1760 and which had precedence over provincial legislation by virtue of s. 88 of the Indian Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-5 - Did the treaty apply in Jacques-Cartier Provincial Park? - The Supreme Court of Canada answered yes because the intention of the parties to the 1760 treaty was that the Hurons, as in the present case, would be entitled to exercise their religious and customary activities where it was not incompatible with the use the British wanted to make of the territory they were occupying - See paragraphs 108 to 126.

Indiens, Inuit et Métis - Cote 4408

Traités et proclamations - Portée territoriale - [Voir Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 4408].

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 4409

Treaties and proclamations - Extinguishment - In defence to charges under Québec provincial parks' legislation, four Huron Indians argued that they were conducting religious and customary activities protected by a treaty signed by the British on September 5, 1760, and which had precedence over provincial legislation by virtue of s. 88 of the Indian Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-5 - In reply, the Québec Attorney General argued that the treaty had been extinguished by the following: (1) the Act of Capitulation of Montréal, signed on September 8, 1760; (2) the Treaty of Paris signed on February 10, 1763; (3) the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763; (4) the legislative and administrative history of the Hurons' land; and (5) the effect of time and non-user of the treaty - The Supreme Court of Canada examined each of these grounds of extinguishment and held that the treaty had not been extinguished - See paragraphs 92 to 107.

Indiens, Inuit et Métis - Cote 4409

Traités et proclamations - Extinction - [Voir Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 4409].

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 4410

Treaties and proclamations - Interpretation - On September 5, 1760, General Murray, highest ranked officer available for the British authorities, signed a document which, among others, allowed the Hurons "the free Exercise of their Religion, their Customs and Liberty of trading with the English" - The document triggered, among others, the following questions: (1) whether the document was a treaty within the meaning of s. 88 of the Indian Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-5; (2) whether the Hurons, the British and Murray had capacity to make a treaty; and (3) interpretation of the contents of the document - The Supreme Court of Canada held that a liberal, generous and attentive attitude had to guide the consideration of all three questions with ambiguities resolved in favour of the Hurons - See paragraphs 16 to 107.

Indiens, Inuit et Métis - Cote 4410

Traités et proclamations - Interprétation - [Voir Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 4410].

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 4412

Treaties and proclamations - Evidence - A document signed on September 5, 1760 by General Murray, then Governor of the City and District of Québec, recognized the surrender of Huron Indians to the British king and, among others, allowed the Hurons "the free Exercise of their Religion, their Customs and their Liberty of trading with the English" - Having to determine whether this document was a treaty within the meaning of s. 88 of the Indian Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-5, the Supreme Court of Canada first examined its wording - The court declared the wording ambiguous - The court then considered extrinsic evidence i.e. (1) a picture of the historical content of the period; (2) facts closely associated with the drawing up of the document and (3) subsequent conduct of the parties - The document was a treaty.

Indiens, Inuit et Métis - Cote 4412

Traités et documents - Interprétation - [Voir Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 4412].

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 4418

Treaties and proclamations - Incompatibility with provincial legislation - Four Huron Indians were charged with having illegally cut trees, camped and made fires in the Jacques-Cartier Provincial Park, the whole contrary to provincial legislation - In defence, the Hurons argued that they were conducting religious and customary activities protected by a treaty signed by the British on September 5, 1760 and which had precedence over provincial legislation by virtue of s. 88 of the Indian Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-5 - The Supreme Court of Canada accepted the Hurons' defence and acquitted them.

Indiens, Inuit et Métis - Cote 4418

Traités et proclamations - Incompatibilité avec la loi provinciale - [Voir Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 4418].

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Simon, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 387; 62 N.R. 366; 71 N.S.R.(2d) 15; 171 A.P.R. 15; appld. [paras. 16, 17, 19, 26, 28, 30, 31, 35, 40, 42, 54, 58, 92, 97].

R. v. White and Bob (1964), 50 D.L.R.(2d) 613 (B.C.C.A.) affd. (1965), 52 D.L.R.(2d) 481 (S.C.C.), appld. [paras. 16, 18, 28, 35, 44, 58, 60, 97].

Jones v. Meehan (1899), 175 U.S. 1, consd. [para. 19].

R. v. Taylor and Williams (1981), 62 C.C.C.(2d) 227, refd to. [para. 46].

R. v. Horse; R. v. Standingwater, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 187; 82 N.R. 206, refd to. [para. 58].

Worcester v. State of Georgia (1832), 31 U.S. (6 Pet.) 515, consd. [para. 70].

Calder v. Attorney General of British Columbia, [1973] S.C.R. 313, refd to. [para. 99].

R. v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, [1982] 2 All E.R. 118 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 99].

Statutes Noticed:

Act of Capitulation of Montréal (1760)/Acte de capitulation de Montréal, art. 40, art. 50.

Act of Capitulation of Québec (1759)/Acte de capitulation de Québec (1759).

Laurentides National Park, Act to Establish the/Parc national des Laurentides, Loi établissant le, S.Q. 1895, 58 Vict., c. 22.

Constitution Act, 1982/Loi constitutionnelle de 1982, sect. 35.

Indian Act/Indiens, Loi sur les, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-5, sect. 88.

Parks Act/Parcs, Loi sur les, R.S.Q. 1977, c. P-9, sect. 1(c), sect. 1(e), sect. 11.

Parks Act, Regulation Respecting the Parc de la Jacques-Cartier/Parcs, Loi sur les, Règlement relatif au Parc de la Jacques-Cartier (1981), 113 G.O.Q. II 3518 (English version); (1981), 113 G.O.Q. II 4815 (French version), sect. 9, sect. 37.

Royal Proclamation, 1763/Proclamation royale, 1763, R.S.C. 1985, app. II, No. 1.

Treaty of Paris (1763)/Traité de Paris (1763).

Authors and Works Noticed:

Colden, Cadwallader, The History of the Five Indian Nations of Canada, (1747), p. 180 [para. 74].

Garneau, François Xavier, Histoire du Canada français (1969), t. 3, pp. 269-272 [para. 34].

Jésuites, Relations des jésuites contenant ce qui s'est passé de plus remarquable dans les missions des Pères de la Compagnie de Jésus dans la Nouvelle-France (1858), vol. 2, pp. 25 et seq. [para. 118].

Johnson, Sir William, The Papers of Sir William Johnson, vols. 1, 3, 10, 13 [paras. 70, 73, 74, 85].

Knox, John, An Historical Journal of the Campaigns in North-America for the Years 1757, 1758, 1759 and 1760 (1769), pp. 382 and preceding [paras. 64, 65]; 384 [paras. 79, 80]; 385 [para. 82].

Knox, John, Appendix to An Historical Journal of the Campaigns in North America for the Years 1757, 1758, 1759 and 1760 (1916), p. 831 [para. 83].

MacKenzie, N.A.M., Indians and Treaties in Law (1929), 7 Can. Bar Rev. 561 [para. 30].

Montcalm, Louis-Joseph, Journal du Marquis de Montcalm durant ses campagnes en Canada de 1756 à 1759 (1895) [para. 73].

Murray, James, Governor Murray's Journal of the Siege of Québec, pp. 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17 [para. 33]; 15, 16 [para. 74].

O'Callaghan, E.B., Ed., Documents relative to the Colonial History of New York (1856), p. 206 [para. 73].

Ortolan, Eugème, Des moyens d'acquérir le domaine international ou propriété d'Etat entre les nations (1851), para. 167 [para. 25].

Québec, Archives de Québec, Rapport de l'archiviste de la Province de Québec pour 1923-1924 [para. 73].

Ratelle, Maurice, Contexte historique de la localisation des Attikameks et des Montagnais de 1760 à nos jours (1987) [para. 74].

Stagg, Jack, Anglo-Indian Relations in North America to 1763 (1981) [para. 73].

Vattel, Emmerich de, The Law of Nations or Principles of the Law of Nature (1760), para. 197 [para. 25].

Counsel:

Robert Décary, Q.C., and René Morin, for the appellant;

Jacques Larochelle and Guy Dion, for the respondents;

Jean-Marc Aubry, Q.C., for the intervener the Attorney General of Canada;

Peter W. Hutchins and Franklin S. Gertler, for La Fraternité des Indiens du Canada/L'Assemblée des Premières nations.

Solicitors of Record:

The Department of Justice, Ste-Foy, Qué., Noël, Décary, Aubry & Assoc., Hull, Qué., for the appellants;

Jacques Larochelle, Québec, Québec, for the respondents;

The Attorney General of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, for the intervener the Attorney General of Canada;

Hutchins, Soroka & Dionne, Montréal, Québec, for La Fraternité des Indiens du Canada/L'Assemblée des Premières nations.

This appeal was heard on October 31 and November 1, 1989, by Dickson, C.J.C., Lamer, Wilson, La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory and McLachlin, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The judgment of the Supreme Court was delivered in both official languages on May 24, 1990, by Lamer, J.

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