Federal Court

Aboriginal Peoples

Status quo from before invalid election took place was to be maintained

Appeal tribunal upholding decision to dismiss councillors from their office as members of First Nation council and banned each from running for nomination in election for chief and council. Councillors applied for judicial review of tribunal’s decision. Application granted. Applicable standard of review was correctness. Court’s intervention was warranted and judicial review was proper forum for challenging tribunal’s decision. Tribunal acted outside its jurisdiction under Sturgeon Lake First Nation Election Act, 2009 in rendering its decision removing councillors, banning them from running in election and determining that they committed corrupt practice. Election having taken place was precondition to tribunal having jurisdiction to hear matter, and tribunal acted without authority as no election had taken place when it reached its decision. Tribunal acted beyond its jurisdiction in failing to abide by provisions that granted and restricted its power to act. Councillors were prematurely removed from positions and were unlawfully prevented from running in election. Tribunal’s decision was procedurally unfair, as councillors were not given notice or provided with opportunity to address allegations against them prior to decision purporting to remove them from office. In exceptional and complex situation, appropriate remedy was to quash decision removing councillors and banning them from participating in election, quash results of election, and order First Nation to institute election as soon as reasonably possible. Status quo from before invalid election took place was to be maintained, with councillors continuing to hold office.

Parenteau v. Sturgeon Lake First Nation Appeal Tribunal (May 12, 2016, F.C., Michael D. Manson J., T-489-16) 268 A.C.W.S. (3d) 251.

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