Reasons were released on Friday on the decision to livestream the summary trial proceedings in Restoule et al v. Canada et al, a case being argued by Joseph J Arvay, QC and Catherine Boies Parker, QC in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on behalf of 22 First Nations that are signatory to the Robinson Huron Treaty. In her decision, Justice Hennessey noted that there is “deep and broad public interest in reconciliation with our Indigenous people” and “Canadians and those who live in Canada are studying our history through a new lens.”
Referring to the TRC, Justice Hennessey noted that the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the justice system has been called dysfunctional, and held that “[t]he integrity of the justice system is at stake when parties who have developed a rational distrust for a system cannot access, for whatever reason, the forum in which key questions and debates are played out….”” The Court held that “[o]pening up the court process to everyone is a declaration that there is nothing to hide and an invitation to hear the debate unfold” and that open access will do more to strengthen the integrity of the court in the eyes of Indigenous people than any political speech or promise.” The Court concluded that “ [c]ollectively, as Canadians, we suffer a deficit in understanding our history and our relationship with our Indigenous neighbours. Creating and preserving an audiovisual record of this evidence increases its usefulness and accessibility. It is a significant contribution to our national understanding.”
The proceedings in the trial can be accessed at: https://livestream.com/firsttel
Justice Hennessy's Reasons can be found here.