Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation v Canada

The Court of Queen's Bench for Saskatchewan released a decision on October 7, 2014 in <a href="" title="Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation v. Canada (Attorney General)"><em>Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation v. Canada (Attorney General)</em></a>, dismissing the plaintiff First Nation's claims against the federal government, the Saskatchewan government and SaskPower, a provincial Crown corporation, by way of summary judgment.

The Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation ("PBCN") brought various claims against the defendants, including allegations of a breach of the Crown's duty to consult, a breach of the Crown's fiduciary duties to Aboriginal peoples and trespass on their reserve lands, all in relation to the operation of hydroelectric dams that flood a seasonally variable portion of the reserve lands of PBCN.

The plaintiffs sought relief in the form of declarations for the alleged breaches of the duty to consult and fiduciary duty, as well as a declaration of possession and compensation by way of damages. In dismissing PBCN's action upon summary judgment, the Court rejected their argument that section 11 of the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement triggered the honour of the Crown with its reference to the administration of reserve lands "for the benefit of the band or bands to whom they have been allotted" (¶38). The Court also held that PBCN's claim of a breach of the duty to consult was limited to a claim for damages arising from a past (rather than continuing) breach of this duty and to which provincial limitation periods could potentially apply. PBCN's claims for a breach of the Crown's fiduciary duties to them and for trespass were also held to have arisen several decades ago, with the Court rejecting arguments that either cause of action was continuing. As a result, both these causes of action were also potentially subject to provincial limitation periods.