Quebec appeals landmark ruling that affirms self-governance for Indigenous peoples

The Quebec government will appeal an Appeal Court decision that marked the first time the courts have clearly recognized a self-government right as a right of all Indigenous peoples in Canada.

The Quebec Appeal Court held that Indigenous people possess an existing right of self-government that is protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, according to legal experts.

“It is a question of jurisdiction between the Quebec and Canadian governments, and we are pursuing the relationship with the Aboriginal communities,” said Quebec Minister of Justice Simon Jolin-Barrette, explaining why the provincial government is seeking leave to appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada.

“It is possible to have a partnership with the Aboriginal communities in order to take charge of youth protection, but this must be done within the division of powers that exists in the Constitution,” added Jolin-Barrette.

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Canadian Constitution architecture dramatically altered following Quebec Appeal Court decision, according to experts

The architecture of the Canadian Constitution has been dramatically altered, with the emergence of a third level of government, after the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled that Indigenous people possess an existing right of self-government that is protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, according to legal experts.

The “bold” decision, a reference case brought by the Attorney General of Québec after it challenged the constitutionality of the federal government’s Indigenous child welfare law, marks the first time a self-government right has been clearly recognized by the courts as a right of all Indigenous peoples in Canada, added aboriginal and constitutional legal experts.

“The Court recognized that Indigenous peoples in Canada have a right to self-government over child and family services recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982,” said Claire Truesdale, a Vancouver lawyer with JFK Law Corporation who practices Aboriginal, environmental and constitutional law. “This is remarkable.”

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