P.E.I.’s Mi’kmaq governments have taken the legal battle over the sale of Mill River to the Supreme Court of Canada.
A statement from Mi’kmaq rights group L’nuey said the governments are seeking leave from the supreme court to appeal a recent decision from the P.E.I. Court of Appeal that found the province didn’t breach its duty to consult.
Abegweit First Nation Chief Junior Gould said the issue of Aboriginal rights is of great significance to the future of P.E.I. Mi’kmaq.
“It is the responsibility of today’s leadership to ensure that our rights are protected for generations to come,” he said.
The fight in the courts relates to the sale of the P.E.I. government’s Mill River property to businessman Don McDougall in 2017.
McDougall bought 325 acres of Crown land as part of a 20-year agreement, which included the Mill River golf course.
In response, the Mi’kmaq of P.E.I. and the then chiefs of Lennox Island First Nation and Abegweit First Nation, acting on behalf of their bands, sought a judicial review of the deal.
P.E.I. Supreme Court Justice Gordon Campbell dismissed the judicial review in June 2019 and his decision was appealed.
The province’s court of appeal issued its decision in November that said consultations the government started and carried out exceeded what is required.
In the statement issued Monday, Lennox Island First Nation Chief Darlene Bernard said the issue of consultation is vital to the protection of Mi’kmaq interests on P.E.I.
“While our relationship with Premier (Dennis) King and his government remains strong, the issue of rights transcends today’s governments and it is our responsibility to take this step,” she said.
The statement said a decision regarding the granting of leave to appeal is expected this spring.