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CIVIL PROCEDURE - Stay of action - Another proceeding pending

Friday, May 04, 2018 @ 8:28 AM  


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Appeal by Onion Lake Cree Nation from the dismissal of its application to stay an application by Stick and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF). Stick, a member of Onion Lake, and the CTF applied for disclosure of financial statements and the schedule of remuneration and expenses paid to its Chief and Councillors for 2014 and 2015. Onion Lake applied to stay the application, because it was in the process of challenging the constitutional validity of the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, the legislation pursuant to which the disclosure application was made, in an unrelated proceeding in Federal Court. Onion Lake’s stay application was dismissed and the disclosure application was allowed. The judge noted that the application by Stick and the CTF involved different parties from Onion Lake’s constitutional challenge, and that the Stick/CTF application did not raise the constitutional issues at the heart of the Federal Court action. He concluded that a determination in the Federal Court action would not dispose of the Stick/CTF application because the Queen’s Bench court would not be bound by a declaration as to the constitutionality of the Act and would be obliged to decide on the basis of the record before the court, and to reach its own conclusions in relation to the constitutional issues.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. Onion Lake failed to give the required notice of a constitutional question in the Queen’s Bench proceedings, despite being advised that this was necessary. Its constitutional challenge to the Act in the Federal Court did not prevent enforcement of the Act by the Queen’s Bench judge. Further, as a member of Onion Lake, Stick’s entitlement to disclosure of the financial information sought could be grounded in different provisions of the Act than those challenged, in the common law, or in other regulations not associated with the Act. The judge did not err in finding that the Queen’s Bench and Federal Court proceedings were not parallel or duplicative.

Onion Lake Cree Nation v. Stick, [2018] S.J. No. 121, Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, G.R. Jackson, R.K. Ottenbreit and J.A. Ryan-Froslie JJ.A., March 26, 2018. Digest No. TLD-April302018009