OTTAWA, June 11 /CNW Telbec/ - An important ruling on Métis harvesting
rights that will have implications for the Métis in the Sudbury area as well
as Métis throughout the province will be delivered by Justice Greg Rodgers in
the Ontario Court of Justice in North Bay on Tuesday, June 12, 2007at 10:00am.
The case, R v. Laurin, Lemieux and Lemieux, involves three Métis Nation of
Ontario (MNO) harvesters.
In the case, 'stays of proceedings' have been sought on the basis that
the laying of these charges by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR)
violates the Interim Métis Harvesting Agreement reached between the MNO and
the MNR. The MNO-MNR Agreement was agreed to by MNO President, Tony Belcourt
and MNR Minister, David Ramsay, in July 2004, in order to implement the
landmark Powley decision on Métis harvesting rights. In the fall of 2004, the
MNR unilaterally interpreted that the terms of the MNO-MNR Agreement would
only apply in "areas North and West of Sudbury", contrary to the MNO's
interpretation of the agreement. Since then, the MNR has continued to lay
dozens of charges against valid MNO Harvest Card Holders in areas south and
east of Sudbury.
The MNO considers the ruling of critical significance to Métis in Ontario
and other Aboriginal peoples throughout Canada. At issue is what is the point
of Aboriginal peoples negotiating and entering into agreements with
governments if they (governments) can unilaterally repudiate these agreements
at any time. The MNO is seeking a ruling that agreements such as the MNO-MNR
Harvesting Agreement are legally binding on the Crown and must be implemented
honorably. Such a ruling would restore the faith of the MNO that the place to
work out issues concerning Métis rights is at the negotiations table and that
once agreements are concluded, they can be relied on.
Following the ruling MNO President Tony Belcourt, PCMNO Chair and Chief
Negotiator Gary Lipinski along with MNO Legal Counsel Jean Teillet and Jason
Madden will host a press conference at the following location:
Capitol Centre in the Galaxy Circle
150 Main St. E. North Bay
The Métis are a distinct Aboriginal people with a unique culture,
language and heritage, and with an ancestral Homeland that centres around
Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, parts of the
Northwest Territories, as well as the northwestern United States.
The Métis played an instrumental role in the shaping of Canada, and work
tirelessly to share their culture, music, traditions and knowledge of the
environment with their fellow Canadians. Today, the Métis live, work, raise
their families and pay taxes in communities all across Canada.
For further information:
For further information: Katelin Peltier, MNO Acting Manager of
Communications, cell.: (613) 859-1730, email@example.com,