THUNDER BAY – NEWS – On January 15, 2024, the Grand Council Treaty #3 appeared before the Ontario Court of Appeal in the Mathur appeal. The case challenges Ontario’s weak target to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, claiming that the target violates Ontarians’ section 7 and 15 Charter rights.
The Grand Council Treaty 3 asked the Ontario Court of Appeal to consider and rely on Indigenous Anishinaabe law for the proposition that societal preservation is a principle of fundamental justice in Canada’s common law. Lara Koerner-Yeo in her oral submissions on behalf of the Grand Council shared the Anishinaabe law on our responsibilities to the earth as drawn from the Manito Aki Inakonigaawin (the “Great Earth Law” in English) and other Anishinaabe law and legal scholarship. Karen Drake, counsel at JFK and an Anishinaabe legal scholar, contributed to the written submissions.
On October 9, 2019, in a statement to declare a state of climate emergency in Treaty #3, Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh, the Grand Chief of Treaty #3, stated:
The wellbeing of our Nation and way of life is of the utmost importance to our leadership and declaring a climate emergency is just one way we can continue to care for each other and mother earth. Since time immemorial, Creator entrusted the Anishinaabe to care for Aki (land) and Nibi (water) on Turtle Island. The Anishinaabe have always maintained a spiritual connection to the land and firmly believe that ‘we are the land and the land is us’.
Mathur is a seminal climate change case in Canada; it is the first Charter challenge of government climate change action that has been found to be justiciable and heard on its merits.
The Court of Appeal heard arguments from Ontario, the seven young climate leaders who are the applicants/appellants, represented by Ecojustice and Stockwoods LLP, and 12 intervenors, including Grand Council Treaty #3.
The court reserved its decision. We expect a ruling in six to eight months.
The Grand Council Treaty #3 submissions can be accessed here: FOI COA-23-CV-0547 – Factum of the Intervener, Grand Council of Treaty #3.