"L'éveil au Cercle" - "Awakening to the Circle"

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July 7, 2010

Manitoba Appeals Court Decision A Setback, Not A Defeat

(Winnipeg, MB) -- Métis National Council (MNC) President Clément Chartier is calling the dismissal of the Manitoba Métis land claim case disappointing but not unexpected. Speaking at a press conference at the Manitoba Métis Federation head office in Winnipeg, MB, Chartier announced the MNC will intervene in the appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

“This decision must be appealed to ensure Métis receive their justice in the Canadian courts,” said Chartier. “The Métis Nation will not allow this decision to stand and the MNC will be taking active measures to prepare its intervenor application.”
Launched in 1981 by the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) and several Métis families in the province, the case seeks compensation for the 1.4 million acres of land promised to Métis in the Manitoba Act, as negotiated by Louis Riel’s Provisional Government with Canada to allow for Manitoba’s entry into Confederation.

In subsequent years, provincial and federal government actions violated the financial and legal duty to the Métis under the Manitoba Act, and allowed for much of the promised land to fall into the hands of speculators.

In 2007, the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench ruled Métis in Manitoba did not have a collective claim to the land, and that the Manitoba Act was not a treaty. The Court of Appeal has upheld that decision, and refused to rule on constitutional issues raised in the claim.

President Chartier did note, however, that the decision had a number of positive findings that can be built upon in the appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. "The decision overturned the lower courts finding that Metis do not have Aboriginal title and it recognized that there is a fiduciary relationship between the Crown and Metis people,” said Chartier.

Chartier also pointed out the decision clearly recognized there was a great delay with respect to the implementation of allocations of land to the Metis and mistakes were made in the allocation of lands to Metis children. ”We will build upon these findings on the facts in our submissions to the Supreme Court", said Chartier.

“This fight has been going on for well over a century and the Métis Nation has no intention of backing down now,” said Chartier. “I am confident the Métis will find justice, and the promises made to our ancestors will be fulfilled.”

For more information contact Greg Taylor, MNC Communications, at (613) 296-9263 or gregt@metisnation.ca

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