The sale of the Mill River resort, controversial in its own right, and the subsequent objections by the Mi’kmaq, is again under sedation. Following presentations of lawyers acting for three parties, this writer is unsure whether the main reason behind the judicial review has been examined sufficiently.
The judicial review was requested because the Mi’kmaq felt proper consultation prior to the sale had not taken place. The government took the position that consultation was not really required and that if it was, need only to be minimal and had been done. Mr. McDougall, the present ‘owner’ of the Mill River Resort was unhappily caught in the middle and only sought to be treated fairly.
Readers of this newspaper and other media may have been distracted by ‘veto’, ‘takes two parties to dance’ (then who will call the tune?), ‘grinding halt’ and the pejorative and disrespectful ‘low end of the consultation spectrum.’ These words are diversionary.
Speaking for the Mi’kmaq, Mr. Rosenberg mentioned the unique, ‘unceded’ land in the Maritimes and its implications. In the maturing subject and spirit of reconciliation it will be incumbent on jurisdictions where land remains unceded to proceed towards long-term accommodation, not a series of courtroom tussles and short-term fixes.
Unless Justice Campbell is able to demonstrate Solomonic wisdom, four days in P.E.I. Supreme Court will not be enough to provide resolution. Surely one party or the other will appeal, possibly ending in the Supreme Court of Canada. This issue is only sleeping.