Sask First Nations Sue Federal Government Over Oil and Gas Rights

On February 8, 2016, the Poundmaker Cree Nation and the Onion Lake Cree Nation, on behalf of certain oil and gas producing First Nations, have sued the Government of Canada over its mismanagement of oil and gas rights on designated Reserve lands.

In this class action, the Poundmaker and Onion Lake Cree Nations allege a continuing breach of fiduciary duty and negligence on the part of the federal government and also request an accounting. They estimate the damages suffered by the class to be $3 billion.

Harvey T. Strosberg QC, Heather Rumble Peterson, Patricia Speight  and Jay Strosberg of Sutts, Strosberg LLP are acting for the Poundmaker and Onion Lake Cree Nations and the other members of the class. Blaine Favel is an advisor to the Strosberg firm.

“For many years the federal government has‎ controlled the exploitation of oil and gas rights on First Nation Reserves. The federal government has botched this important responsibility,” said Chief Wallace Fox of the Onion Lake Cree Nation.

“It’s disappointing that the federal government didn’t protect our non-renewable oil and gas resources from drainage by wells on the lands bordering our Reserve lands. We are a poor people and the revenue from those resources could have done much good for our community,” said Chief Duane Antoine from the Poundmaker Cree Nation.

Harvey T. Strosberg stated that “given that the new federal government has been clear about its desire to re-build its relationship with First Nations, we hope, in this spirit, that the federal government would talk rather than immediately fight in court.”

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