Band (Eeyouch) c. Napash

<p>The Criminal and Penal Division of the Court of Qu&amp;#233;bec released a decision on September 29, 2014 in <em><a href="" title="Band (Eeyouch) c. Napash">Band (Eeyouch) c. Napash</a></em> (in English), declaring that the <em>Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms</em> (the "<em>Charter</em>") applies to bylaws enacted by the Cree Nation of Chisasibi ("Chisasibi"), characterizing an Aboriginal right claimed by the Chisasibi as "the right to govern and regulate the possession and consumption of alcohol on its land", and reserving for all parties the right to submit any relevant evidence aimed at established or denying the existence of that Aboriginal right.</p>

This case stems from the prosecution of three individuals by the Chisasibi for bylaw offences relating to the consumption, possession and control of alcohol on Chisasibi lands. The three individuals facing charges under the bylaw in question petitioned the Court for a declaration that certain provisions of the bylaw are unconstitutional and inoperative by operation of the Charter, and this decision is limited to determining whether the Charter is applicable to the bylaw. The Court found that the Charter did indeed apply to the Chisasibi bylaw challenged by the petitioners, and went on to consider whether s. 25 of the Charter would protect the bylaw from being held unconstitutional or inoperative. The Court held that in order to do so it needed to characterize the Aboriginal right that the Chisasibi are relying on in order to protect their bylaw from Charter rights, thereby arriving at a narrowly prescribed "right to govern and regulate the possession and consumption of alcohol on its land". The Court refrained from determining whether there is a conflict between an Aboriginal right of this character and Charter rights until further evidence could be adduced as to whether the Aboriginal right in question exists.