Case Comment: A Brief Critique of Malcolm v Fort McMurray First Nation, 2016 FC 672

CanLII Connects, August 5, 2016: The Federal Court found that the Membership Clerk of the Fort McMurray First Nation had properly placed a membership application on hold pending confirmation of the applicant’s actual registration under the Indian Act, even though the applicants were likely “entitled to be registered”. ​Respectfully, I see two problems with this decision:

Firstly, it appears to be pushing the boundaries of judicial deference. The case did not turn on the weight of any facts, but could be decided entirely on the wording of the Indian Act, read together with the Band Membership Code. It is a pure case of statutory interpretation because the Membership Clerk is not in any better position than the Federal Court to interpret these enactments.

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