Marshall Decision at 20

OTTAWA, ON (October 24, 2019): In 1999, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case brought forward by Donald Marshall Jr., finding that the 18th century “peace and friendship” treaties between the British government and Mi’kmaq and Maliseet had to be honoured. The Marshall decision, as its commonly known, resulted in the federal government being compelled to respect these First Nations’ treaty rights when it came to commercial fisheries, radically changing the economic landscape of the region.

Now, after twenty years, what has been the impact of Marshall? In MLI’s latest report titled The Marshall Decision at 20: Two Decades of Commercial Re-Empowerment of the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet, Munk Senior Fellow Ken Coates examines the serious and sustained benefits that arose following the Marshall decision, which brought about new economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples.

“In the 20 years that followed the Marshall decision, Mi’kmaq and Maliseet communities capitalized on the opportunities generated by the court ruling,” explains Coates. He argues that this resulted in the quieting of critics who “believed that the empowerment of Indigenous peoples would disrupt a solid industry. It did not happen.”

To find out more, visit the Macdonald-Laurier Institute website.