In the News
Senior Federal Court judge under fire for objections to Indigenous principles and land acknowledgements

Originally published in The Globe and Mail

June 14, 2021

A senior judge of the Federal Court of Canada has strongly objected to showing respect for Indigenous people by acknowledging their unceded traditional lands in courtroom proceedings, a common practice at the Supreme Court of Canada as well as government and corporate events.

A senior judge of the Federal Court of Canada has strongly objected to showing respect for Indigenous people by acknowledging their unceded traditional lands in courtroom proceedings, a common practice at the Supreme Court of Canada as well as government and corporate events.

Justice Richard Bell was also critical of the Mi’kmaq concept known as “two-eyed seeing,” which encourages courts and other Canadian institutions to examine environmental and social issues from both Indigenous and Western perspectives.

Justice Bell made the remarks while hearing a judicial review case in Halifax in late May, challenging the federal government for failing to properly assess the risks of exploratory drilling for oil and gas off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Sierra Club Canada, World Wildlife Fund and Ecology Action Centre were urging the court to quash a ruling by Ottawa to exempt the drilling from an environmental assessment.

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