Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Federal government again appealing Kapyong ruling

  • Print

OTTAWA — For the second time the federal government is appealing a court decision requiring it to fully consult with Treaty One First Nations in Manitoba before selling the Kapyong Barracks site.

A spokeswoman for the Defence Department said the government filed its appeal late Friday afternoon.

"The main grounds for appeal are that the Federal Court judge made errors in law with respect to what he ordered and his analysis of the duty to consult," said Kathleen Guillot.

This will indefinitely extend the legal battle over the 160 acres of prime real estate at Kenaston Boulevard and Grant Avenue, which has now lasted more than five years.

Jeff Rath, the lawyer for Peguis First Nation, one of the Treaty One bands, said he was surprised Ottawa is appealing because he says in court the government admitted it did have a duty to consult the First Nations on the sale of Kapyong, at least when it came to Peguis. He said the government’s argument is that it fulfilled that duty, but the judge in the case disagreed.

"To me it just seems the Crown is simply trying to delay the inevitable," said Rath.

In 2004, the Princess Patricia Light Infantry Unit abandoned the barracks to move west to Shilo, Man. Three years later, the federal government declared the barracks land surplus and moved to sell it to the Canada Lands Company for $8.6 million. CLC, a Crown corporation that redevelops surplus federal land, planned a mix of homes and businesses on the site.

But the seven Treaty One First Nations argue a 1997 agreement gave them the right of first refusal when surplus federal land become available, to fulfill outstanding land entitlements from the 1871 Treaty One. Shortly after Ottawa moved to sell the land, the seven Treaty One First Nations went to court to stop it.

The land in question is only the 160 acres of the barracks themselves, and does not include the military homes surrounding the barracks. That parcel is to be dealt with separately.

In 2009, a Federal Court judge ordered Ottawa to freeze any sale of the land until consultations were undertaken with the bands. That decision was rescinded on appeal in 2011 and the case was returned to the lower court for another hearing. A second federal judge last month again ordered Ottawa to consult with the First Nations, this time four of the seven.

Ottawa is now appealing that second decision.

Since 2005, taxpayers have spent $14.7 million on the empty barracks, including for utilities, operations and maintenance, property taxes, site security and site management. Several hundred thousand dollars have also been spent by Ottawa on legal fees.

Treaty One First Nations want to develop the site to generate income for their bands, and have said they would be open to ideas that work for both the city and the First Nations.

In December, a high-placed Conservative government source told the Free Press the government was open to selling the land to the First Nations but only on the condition the land not to be turned into an urban reserve.

No date is yet set to argue the appeal.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Key of Bart - A Criminal Mind

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(Standup photo)- Humming Around- A female ruby -throated hummingbird fly's through the bee bomb  flowers Friday at the Assiniboine Park English Garden- Nectar from flowers are their main source of food. Hummingbirds wings can beat as fast as 75x times second. Better get a glimpse of them soon the birds fly far south for the winter - from Mexico to South America- JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Sept 10, 2009
  • A gosling stares near water at Omands Creek Park-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 25– June 21, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Do you think the Jets will make the playoffs?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google