Manitoba Métis Land Claim Case Decision

Supreme Court of Canada to Release Manitoba Métis Land Claim Case on Friday

OTTAWA, March 8, 2013 /CNW/ - The Supreme Court of Canada handed down its decision in the Manitoba Métis Federation case today.  The case concerned obligations to the Métis people that were enshrined in the Manitoba Act, which is a constitutional document.

Canada entered into negotiations with representatives of the Riel's provisional government.  The result was the entry of Manitoba into Confederation in exchange for which Canada made promises to provide 1.4 million acres of land to the Métis.  Canada got what it wanted but because of its ongoing delay, the promise to the Métis was "ineffectual and inequitable".  As a result the Métis became a landless aboriginal people.

The court held that the federal government did not act honorably in implementing the constitutional obligation in s. 31 of the Manitoba Act.  The court also affirmed that the Manitoba Métis Federation could advance Métis collective claims.

The court said that this left "unfinished business of reconciliation of the Métis people with Canadian sovereignty" and that this is an "ongoing rift in the national fabric" that remains remedied.

Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Gary Lipinski stated that, "this is an important day for the Métis.  The Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged that there is unfinished business with the Métis and that this includes our land issues.  Hopefully the federal government will begin to negotiate with the Métis."

SOURCE: METIS NATION OF ONTARIO

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