Minister Morton's Misinformation



    EDMONTON, June 29 /CNW/ - Today, the Métis Nation of Alberta issued the
following to refute the misinformation that has been put forward by
spokespersons for Minister Ted Morton and the Alberta Government. "We believe
Albertans need to know the truth about what has taken place, not denials and
political spin," said Audrey Poitras, President of the Métis Nation of
Alberta.

    
    -   Contrary to claims, the MLA Committee did not recommend cancelling
        the Interim Métis Harvesting Agreement (IMHA). The MLA's written
        report first recommends the current agreement "be amended through
        further negotiations." (Report of the MLA Committee on Métis
        Harvesting, p. 4 (para. 2)). Mr. Morton was the one that promised in
        his leadership campaign that he would cancel the IMHA. He achieved
        his promise, but that was not what the MLA Committee recommended.

    -   Contrary to claims, the IMHA was not "originally set to expire in
        April". In April, the Alberta Government unilaterally terminated the
        IMHA. The IMHA had a 90 day notice provision, therefore, the IMHA
        expires on July 1st. Alberta's claim is contradictory to the terms of
        the IMHA and the Alberta Government's own press release of April 3,
        2007.

    -   Contrary to claims, two courts did not find that the IMHA needed to
        be cancelled. Both courts found that the IMHA was not legally
        enforceable because Sustainable Resource Development, the department
        Mr. Morton leads, did not incorporate the IMHA into Alberta's
        regulatory regime in order to make it legally enforceable. In fact,
        Justice Verville of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench found that the
        IMHA was Alberta's attempt to fulfill the 'constitutional
        imperative' to accommodate Métis harvesting rights throughout the
        province. (R. v. Kelley, (2007) ABQB 41 at par. 67)

    -   Contrary to claims, Alberta's unilateral approach has nothing to do
        with conservation. Last year, Alberta licensed over 94,000
        harvesters. The MNA estimates there are less than 3,500 active Métis
        harvesters in the province. As well, the MNA and the Minister for
        Aboriginal Affairs arrived at Points of Agreement for an amended IMHA
        that would have seen the MNA implement a Harvesting Policy and
        collect information on the number of harvesters, where they were
        harvesting and what was being harvested. Sustainable Resource
        Development does not have this type of information on any other
        Aboriginal peoples harvesting in this province, but the Métis were
        willing to work with the province on this. Mr. Morton ensured these
        Points of Agreement were rejected and now he will get to act as the
        judge and jury on who is Métis and who can harvest in this province.
    





For further information:

For further information: For background documents visit
www.albertametis.org or for interviews contact: Marilynn Underschultz, Cell:
(780) 920-1322, Métis Nation of Alberta

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METIS NATION OF ALBERTA ASSOCIATION

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