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The Cost of Denial: Case Comment on Anderson v. Alberta – First Peoples Law

April 13, 2022

In March the Supreme Court of Canada delivered its decision Anderson v. Alberta on whether Canada and Alberta must pay a portion of Beaver Lake Cree Nation’s legal fees in its landmark treaty infringement case.

The Court allowed the appeal and held that First Nations should not be required to choose between meeting the basic needs of their communities and pursuing publicly important litigation in order to qualify for advance costs.

Like the recent, long-overdue papal apology for harms to Indigenous Peoples as a result of Canada’s residential school system, the Anderson decision stirs mixed responses. While the decision represents a positive step forward for Indigenous Peoples seeking to protect and vindicate their rights, it also stands as a reminder of the colonial foundations on which Canada rests.

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