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Canada Appoints Representative to Make Recommendations on a Negotiations Framework for Manitoba Métis Federation Land Claim MMF President Encouraged by Development

June 4, 2015

Calgary, AB – Today, Manitoba Métis Federation (“MMF”) President David Chartrand was in Calgary and met with the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Aboriginal Affairs Minister, as well as Mr. Tom Isaac, Canada’s recently appointed Special Ministerial Representative tasked with the Mandate “to meet with Métis organizations, provincial and territorial governments and other interested parties to map out a process for dialogue on Section 35 Métis rights.
 
In addition, Mr. Isaac will engage with the Manitoba Metis Federation to explore ways to advance dialogue on reconciliation with Métis in Manitoba in response to the 2013 Manitoba Metis Federation et al. v. Canada decision of the Supreme Court of Canada.”
 
In March 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada released its historic decision in MMF v. Canada and held that the federal government had breached the honour of the Crown in the implementation of s. 31 of the Manitoba Act, 1870. Section 31 promised 1.4 million acres of land to the Métis in the Red River Valley to provide them a “head start” in the settlement of the Province they were partners in creating–Manitoba.
 
In the MMF case, the Supreme Court of Canada found the purpose and intent of the promise embedded within s. 31 was not achieved due to federal Crown delays and a lack of diligence. The Court also held that, “[s]o long as the issue [the Métis claim] remains outstanding, the goal of reconciliation and constitutional harmony, recognized in s. 35 of the Charter and underlying s. 31 of the Manitoba Act, remains unachieved.”
 
Despite the clear direction from the Supreme Court of Canada for negotiations between the MMF and Canada to address this outstanding claim and other positive legal and political developments, a formal negotiation table has yet to be established. Today’s appointment of Mr. Isaac signals Canada’s new willingness to work towards negotiations that advance reconciliation. Similar processes have led to the acceptance of the special claims of other Aboriginal groups.
 
The announced Special Ministerial Representative process also comes on the heels of the recent recommendation of another Special Ministerial Representative, Mr. Doug Eyford, who was tasked with a review of Canada’s Comprehensive Land Claims Policy. In his report released in May 2015, Mr. Eyford made the following recommendation:
 
“Canada should establish a framework for negotiations with the Manitoba Métis Federation to respond to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Manitoba Métis Federation v. Canada”
 
MMF President Chartrand stated, “I am encouraged with this recent development. It shows that Canada is slowly come to grips with the inevitability that a negotiations table with the MMF must be created in order to address the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision and the Manitoba Métis Community’s outstanding claim against the federal Crown.”
 
“While progress has been slow, I appreciate the efforts of Minister Valcourt in making this happen. The MMF looks forward to working with Mr. Isaac on both section 35 rights and getting to Canada-MMF negotiating table to resolve outstanding land claims as soon as possible. The Supreme Court of Canada has already recognized that our constitutional grievance is a matter of national importance, we cannot continue to delay on achieving a just settlement,” Chartrand added.
 
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The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) is the official democratic and self-governing political representative for the Metis Nation's Manitoba Metis Community.
 
Believe in Yourself; Believe in Metis.
 
 
For more information, please contact:
 
Jonathan Hamel, Communications Coordinator
Manitoba Metis Federation
Phone: (204) 586-8474 ext. 374
Cell: (204) 806-4752
Email: jonathan.hamel@mmf.mb.ca
 
Alternate:
 
Al Benoit
Manitoba Metis Federation
Cell: (204) 299-0534
Email: abenoit@mmf.mb.ca
 

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