Manitoba Metis Federation Arguments win the Federal Court of Appeal Ruling on Daniels - Case Canada has Constitutional Responsibility for Metis

April 17, 2014

WINNIPEG, MB – The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) has carried the day with its intervenor arguments and winning another groundbreaking ruling with the Federal Court of Appeal announced today. The Court listened to MMF arguments carefully and followed MMF recommendations in making their judgment.

“We are no longer a political football. It is clear Canada has the constitutional obligation to deal with the Metis as a rights-bearing people,” said MMF President David Chartrand.  “Canada cannot deny its responsibility. It is time that Canada do the right thing and address the issues faced by the Metis. Last March the MMF won its Supreme Court Decision on its historic land claim. It is time that Canada negotiate with the MMF the land claim and renew our Constitutional partnership with Canadians.”

“For generations the Metis have suffered the impacts and effects of Canada’s negligence,” President Chartrand went on to say. “Again, it is time Canada right the wrongs it has committed by excluding the Metis from the Northern Flood Agreement. It is time to end discrimination against the Metis in the Residential Schools crisis. It is time the Metis issues become a priority. Canada must come to the negotiating table.”

“It would be irresponsible for Canada to appeal this decision,” said Chartrand. “The court made it clear there are practical reasons to move forward on implementing the decision. There is an existing gap between the Metis and other Canadians in expectations in health, social and economic development, business, employment, education and training, to name a few areas of priority. Canada is bound by the honour of the Crown and its fiduciary relationship with the Metis and must move forward to address these in negotiation with the MMF.

The MMF was an intervenor before the Federal Court of Appeal’s in the October, 2013 hearing of the arguments in Daniels v. Canada, [2013].

In its written decision, in paragraph 3, wrote “the intervener the Manitoba Métis Federation asks that the appeal be dismissed, but that the Judge’s declaration be restated to separate reference to non-status Indians from the declaration. It would restate the declaration as follows: “The Court declares that the Métis are included as ‘Indians’ within the meaning of s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867.” The court in its decision did just that.

The Federal Court of Appeal went on to say it “would allow the appeal in part by deleting reference in the declaration to non-status Indians and would restate the declaration as proposed by the Manitoba Métis Federation.” Subsequently, in its judgment, the court stated “The Court declares that the Métis are included as ‘Indians’ within the meaning of section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867. In all other respects the appeal is dismissed.”

In its intervenor arguments the MMF presented arguments towards upholding the trial judge’s decision that the Métis are included within 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867, and to support the distinctiveness of the Metis Nation, and the Manitoba Metis Community, as expressed by earlier rulings of the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in Powley, Blais, and Cunningham, and in the SCC’s recent MMF v Canada and Manitoba Land Claim Decision.

“It is a great day for the Metis Nation, and our Manitoba Metis Community” said President Chartrand. “The Metis have been treated like third-class citizens since the days of Manitoba’s creation in 1870 and the Battle of Batoche in 1885. The Court has set further the foundations for change, to repair the rift in our country’s constitutional fabric, and for Canada to finally act on its responsibilities.”

“With this decision we will continue to press for the recognition of our rights as the Metis Nation,” said Chartrand. “The Manitoba Metis were Canada’s negotiating Partners in Confederation and the Founders of Manitoba. As proud Canadians we will continue to work towards reconciliation between Canada and the Metis, the renewal of our Partnership, and securing of our place in the Constitution and in Canada. ”

“The Metis are a distinct and unique Aboriginal People within s. 35 of the Constitution. Now there is harmony across the Constitution with this decision that all Aboriginal Peoples are within s. 91(24),” said President Chartrand. “This is consistent with the recent 2013 SCC decision in MMF v Canada that made it clear that Metis are one of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples and that Canada has outstanding obligations and unfulfilled constitutional promise towards the Metis.”

“The Government has its responsibility to work with us as Partners in Confederation and the Founders of Manitoba, concluded President Chartrand. “The Metis are proud Canadians, hard-working taxpayers, and builders of our Country. The Metis will never fall under the Indian Act. The Metis will never live on Reserves. A Government will never control the Metis. Never. The Metis are the People who own themselves.”

Read More News