The Ontario Superior court has ruled that the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850 provides treaty beneficiaries with a constitutionally protected right to share in the Crown revenues from the Treaty territory. This is an unprecedented ruling on an historic treaty.
Justice Patricia Hennessy heard evidence from elders, experts and Chiefs. She held that the Treaty was not meant to be a one time transaction, but rather established a mutually beneficial and respectful ongoing relationship for the sharing of land and resources in the Territory. The Court held that the parties intended the sharing of net revenues to take place in a manner consistent with the Anishinabek principles of respect, responsibility, reciprocity and renewal.
The Court held that the Crown is obliged to increase the annuities payable under the Treaty when it can do so without incurring loss. The $4 annuity has not been increased for over a hundred years. Damages quantification will take place in a future phase of the trial.
Joseph J Arvay QC and Catherine Boies Parker QC represent the plaintiffs.
The decision can be read here: Restoule v. Canada