Buctouche First Nation v. New Brunswick

The New Brunswick Court of Appeal issued a decision on October 9, 2014 in Buctouche First Nation v. New Brunswick, dismissing a motion for leave to appeal brought by ten New Brunswick First Nations and the Assembly of First Nations' Chiefs in New Brunswick against the dismissal of an interim injunction application they brought in August of this year.

The appellants had sought an interim injunction to prevent the New Brunswick government from entering into Forest Management Agreements with various companies named as respondents in the proceeding. They alleged that the provincial government had failed to adequately consult and accommodate them in relation to its 2014 Forest Strategy, which would increase the annual allowable cut of timber, decrease the amount of forest protected in conservation areas and shift to a "results-based" framework for forestry management. They also alleged that the 2014 Strategy breached their established treaty rights to hunt, fish and harvest through irreversible harm to the environment. The Court of Appeal upheld the lower court ruling that dismissed the injunction application. The appellate court agreed with the lower court that there was insufficient evidence to find a breach of the Crown's duty to consult and that inadequate consultation does not always constitute "irreparable harm" for the purpose of determining whether to grant an injunction. The Court of Appeal also held that no harm had occurred to the appellants' rights and the evidence could not meet the higher burden for granting an injunction where the harm is anticipated but has yet to occur. Furthermore, since the interim injunction sought would have expired before the end of August, the Court of Appeal held that the matter was moot in any event.

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