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This article was published 10/9/2009 (4151 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Kapyong barracks

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The Kapyong barracks

WINNIPEG -- A First Nations court claim to Kapyong barracks is "vexatious" and only about money, Ottawa's lawyer told a federal court this morning.

In a scathing rebuke, Crown lawyer Harry Glinter said the bands were invited to offer a price for the land before it was declared surplus and failed to do so. Now that the land is slated to be given to a Crown development firm, the bands have decided they are willing to pay.

"What really is at issue, to be blunt, is money," said Glinter. "They think they can get a better deal from the government than from Canada Lands, and that is probably true."

Glinter also called the case - which could drag on for months or years - "a legal sideshow to a major political event," which is the redevelopment of land, long fallow.

Seven First Nations have asked for a judicial review of the complex transfer of the River Heights land from the military to a Crown development agency for redevelopment. The bands say Ottawa had a duty to consult them to determine whether they had a claim to the land.

The hearing is expected to wrap up today, but it could be months before a federal judge issues his ruling.

The Kapyong barracks, former home of one of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry regiments, have been abandoned since 2004, when the regiment relocated to CFB Shilo, east of Brandon.