R. v. Sundown (J.), (1999) 236 N.R. 251 (SCC)

JudgeMcLachlin, Iacobucci, Bastarache and Binnie, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateNovember 03, 1998
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1999), 236 N.R. 251 (SCC);[1999] 6 WWR 278;[1999] ACS no 13;132 CCC (3d) 353;170 DLR (4th) 385;[1999] 1 SCR 393;1999 CanLII 673 (SCC);177 Sask R 1;236 NR 251;41 WCB (2d) 323;JE 99-696;[1999] SCJ No 13 (QL);199 WAC 1;86 ACWS (3d) 1006;[1999] 2 CNLR 289

R. v. Sundown (J.) (1999), 236 N.R. 251 (SCC)

MLB Headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

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

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

Temp. Cite: [1999] N.R. TBEd. MR.012

Her Majesty The Queen (appellant) v. John Sundown (respondent) and The Attorney General of Quebec, The Attorney General of Manitoba and The Attorney General for Alberta (intervenors)

(26161)

Indexed As: R. v. Sundown (J.)

Supreme Court of Canada

Lamer, C.J.C., L'Heureux-Dubé, Cory,

McLachlin, Iacobucci, Bastarache

and Binnie, JJ.

March 25, 1999.

Summary:

The accused treaty Indian cut trees and constructed a log cabin in a provincial park. The cabin was used by the accused and his relatives while hunting and fishing for food. The accused was convicted of constructing a permanent dwelling on park land without the disposition or written consent of the Minis­ter, contrary to s. 41(2)(j) of the Parks Reg­u­lations, and of taking, damaging or de­stroy­ing trees on park land without the written consent of the Minister, contrary to s. 59(a) of the Parks Regulations. The accused appealed his convictions, arguing, inter alia, that the trial judge erred in finding that the accused's activities were not "rea­sonably incidental" to his treaty right to hunt, fish and trap for food.

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench, in a decision reported at 133 Sask.R. 3, held that the trial judge erred in conclud­ing that both the construction of the cabin and the harvesting of trees in the park in connection with the construction of the cabin were not "reasonably incidental" to the act of hunting. The court allowed the appeal with respect to the conviction under s. 41(2)(j) and entered an acquittal. However, the court dismissed the appeal from the conviction under s. 59(a) on the basis that the accused had used the trees cut, in part, for purposes other than the construction of the cabin. The Crown appealed the decision quashing the conviction under s. 41(2)(j). The Crown conceded that the court's decision to uphold the conviction pursuant to s. 59(a) on the basis that the accused used the trees in part for purposes unrelated to the cabin was in error. The Crown agreed that the conviction pursuant to s. 59(a) must also be dealt with on the appeal.

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, in a decision reported at 158 Sask.R. 53; 153 W.A.C. 53, dismissed the appeal and affirmed the acquittal for the charge under s. 41(2)(j). The conviction for taking, damag­ing or destroying trees contrary to s. 59(a) was also set aside and an acquittal entered. Wakeling, J.A., in dissent, would have restored the conviction for the charge under s. 41(2)(j). The Crown appealed the acquittal for the charge under s. 41(2)(j).

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal.

Fish and Game - Topic 804

Indians, Inuit and Métis rights - Scope of rights - General - [See first Fish and Game - Topic 843 ].

Fish and Game - Topic 843

Indians, Inuit and Métis rights - Right to hunt for food - Extent of right - The accused was a member of the Joseph Bighead First Nation, which was a party to Treaty No. 6 - The accused cut down trees in a provincial park and used them to construct a log cabin in the park - The cabin was used by the accused and his relatives while hunting and fishing for food - The accused was charged with, inter alia, constructing a permanent dwell­ing on park land without consent, contrary to s. 41(2)(j) of the Parks Regulations - The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that the accused should be acquitted of the charge -The park was occupied Crown land to which the accused had a treaty right of access to hunt for food and the cabin was "reasonably incidental" to the Joseph Bighead First Nation's right to hunt in their traditional expeditionary style - The regulations in issue would conflict with the accused's treaty rights and were therefore inapplicable to him by virtue of s. 88 of the Indian Act - See paragraphs 31 to 33 and 47.

Fish and Game - Topic 843

Indians, Inuit and Métis rights - Right to hunt for food - Extent of right - The accused treaty Indian was charged with constructing a permanent dwelling (a log cabin) on park land without consent, con­trary to s. 41(2)(j) of the Parks Regulations - The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that the accused should be acquitted because the cabin was "reasonably inci­den­tal" to the accused's treaty right to hunt for food - The court rejected the Crown's argument that by building a permanent structure the accused was asserting a pro­prietary interest in park land - Aboriginal and treaty rights were not to be interpreted as if they were common law property rights - Further, there were limitations on permanency implicit within the right itself - Three such limitations were: (1) provin­cial legislation relating to conservation; (2) the requirement of compatibility between the Crown's use of the land and the treaty right claimed; and (3) the term of the treaty that restricted the right to hunt to lands not "required or taken up for settle­ment" - See paragraphs 34 to 43.

Fish and Game - Topic 843

Indians, Inuit and Métis rights - Right to hunt for food - Extent of right - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed how the term "reasonably incidental" should be defined and applied in the context of de­ter­mining whether an activity was "reason­ab­ly incidental" to a treaty Indian's right to hunt for food - See paragraphs 28 to 30.

Fish and Game - Topic 849

Indians, Inuit and Métis rights - Right to hunt for food - Crown lands - Occupied - [See first Fish and Game - Topic 843 ].

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 501

Rights - General - [See first Fish and Game - Topic 843 ].

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 501

Rights - General - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that "[a]boriginal and treaty rights cannot be defined in a manner which would accord with common law concepts of title to land or the right to use another's land. Rather, they are the right of aborigi­nal people in common with other aborigi­nal people to participate in certain prac­tices traditionally engaged in by par­ticular aboriginal nations in particular territories" -See paragraph 35.

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 6001

Aboriginal rights - General - [See first Fish and Game - Topic 843 and second Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 501 ].

Words and Phrases

Reasonably incidental - The Supreme Court of Canada considered the meaning of the term "reasonably incidental" in the context of determining whether an activity was "reasonably incidental" to a treaty Indian's right to hunt for food - See para­graphs 28 to 30.

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Horseman, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 901; 108 N.R. 1; 108 A.R. 1, refd to. [para. 8].

R. v. Sutherland, Wilson et al. and Canada (Attorney General), [1980] 2 S.C.R. 451; 35 N.R. 361; 7 Man.R.(2d) 359, refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Simon, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 387; 62 N.R. 366; 71 N.S.R.(2d) 15; 171 A.P.R. 15, refd to. [para. 17].

R. v. Sioui, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1025; 109 N.R. 22; 30 Q.A.C. 280; 56 C.C.C.(3d) 225; 70 D.L.R.(4th) 427, refd to. [para. 23].

R. v. Badger (W.C.) et al., [1996] 1 S.C.R. 771; 195 N.R. 1; 181 A.R. 321; 116 W.A.C. 321, refd to. [para. 24].

R. v. Van der Peet (D.M.), [1996] 2 S.C.R. 507; 200 N.R. 1; 80 B.C.A.C. 81; 130 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 25].

R. v. Sparrow, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1075; 111 N.R. 241; 56 C.C.C.(3d) 263; 70 D.L.R.(4th) 385, refd to. [para. 25].

R. v. Smith, [1935] 2 W.W.R. 433 (Sask. C.A.), refd to. [para. 41].

R. v. Myran, [1976] 2 S.C.R. 137; 5 N.R. 551; 23 C.C.C.(2d) 73; 58 D.L.R.(3d) 1; [1976] 1 W.W.R. 196, refd to. [para. 41].

R. v. Dick, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 309; 62 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 47].

R. v. Côté (F.) et al., [1996] 3 S.C.R. 139; 202 N.R. 161, refd to. [para. 48].

Statutes Noticed:

Indian Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-5, sect. 88 [para. 14].

Natural Resources Transfer Agreement, para. 12 [para. 8].

Parks Act Regulations (Sask.), Parks Reg­u­lations, R.R.S., c. P-1.1, Reg. 6, sect. 41(2)(j) [para. 14].

Parks Regulations - see Parks Act Regu­lations (Sask.).

Treaty No. 6, 1876, generally [para. 4].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Morris, Alexander, The Treaties of Canada with the Indians of Manitoba and the North-West Territories (1991), pp. 193 [para. 6]; 215, 218 [para. 5].

Counsel:

P. Mitch McAdam, for the appellant;

James D. Jodouin and Gary L. Bainbridge, for the respondent;

René Morin, for the intervenor, the At­torney General of Quebec;

Deborah L. Carlson, for the intervenor, the Attorney General of Manitoba;

Robert J. Normey, for the intervenor, the Attorney General for Alberta.

Solicitors of Record:

John D. Whyte, Regina, Saskatchewan, for the appellant;

Woloshyn Mattison, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for the respondent;

René Morin, Sainte-Foy, Quebec, for the intervenor, Attorney General of Quebec;

Department of Justice, Winnipeg, Mani­toba, for the intervenor, the Attorney General of Manitoba;

Robert J. Normey, Edmonton, Alberta, for the intervenor, Attorney General for Alberta.

This appeal was heard on November 3, 1998, before Lamer, C.J.C., L'Heureux-Dubé, Cory, McLachlin, Iacobucci, Bastarache and Binnie, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada. The following judgment of the court was delivered by Cory, J., in both official languages on March 25, 1999.

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