MMF Responds to Manitoba's New Legislation on Safer Hunting and Sustainable Wildlife Management

October 9, 2020

The Manitoba government announced today, October 9, 2020 that it is enacting new laws that will ignore the Supreme Court of Canada's Sparrow decision and negatively impact Indigenous People's section 35 Constitution Harvesting rights, while protecting the interests of non-aboriginal hunters.

"Pallister and Pedersen are signaling once again that they do not intend to represent all Manitobans, but rather their own base," stated Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) President David Chartrand. "Pallister's government is attempting to equalize aboriginal rightsholders with non-aboriginal hunters."

Recent moose population surveys have indicated that the populations in both the Duck and Porcupine Mountains are stable or increasing. In 2018, and again in 2020, the province sent the MMF letters stating that populations indicate a harvest of 2% of these animals would not cause serious harm to the moose populations. The Manitoba government also passed regulations in 2019 and 2020 to open these areas up to a hunt of 60 moose. There is consistency over the past three years.

"In response to the MMF's limited opening of harvesting 26 moose in these areas, the government of Manitoba is now doing a 180-degree pivot on their proposed moose closure re-opening," stated MMF Minister of Natural Resources and Citizenship Leah LaPlante. "We have received letters, the most recent being dated September 28, 2020, that indicate there were full intentions of Manitoba re-opening 'an authorized, limited, bulls-only moose harvest for the Duck and Porcupine Mountain... effective November 1 through December 15, 2020.'"

On September 30, 2020, Miranda Dube, Manitoba's Press Secretary, wrote in an email to the Brandon Sun that, "[...] Manitoba believes these areas can provide a limited harvest opportunity without significantly jeopardizing long-term population recovery." Again consistent, in a letter dated September 28, 2020, Manitoba Wildlife Federation Managing Director Rob Olson stated, "While each of these moose populations are showing slower than anticipated growth, we believe that each are at a level that could support a limited harvest this year."

On September 27, 2019, the Manitoba government passed a regulation to open a moose harvest in 2019 and again on September 8, 2020 Manitoba passed a regulation to re-open a moose harvest for the 2020 season. Both of which stated that limited harvest of up to 60 moose may take place in Duck Mountain and Porcupine Mountain "because the best available information indicates that the moose population in those areas have recovered to the point where such a harvest will not pose a threat to the viability of the population." This is consistent.

"It is clear that we cannot trust the Premier. Apparently, he has made commitments to open harvesting to non-Indigenous hunters, but Indigenous Peoples took a stand. It is clear that if his base of support cannot hunt, no one can hunt. No matter how you spin it, Pallister did not get his way and now has to backtrack," added President Chartrand. "The MMF will be doing our own surveys, which we are willing to share with Manitoba, that will provide us with verifiable evidence that no one else can contradict."

"There have been no new surveys and no new data presented to suggest we should not be able to harvest moose," continued Minister LaPlante. "The only thing that has changed is that Indigenous peoples across Manitoba have aligned in opposition to Manitoba, and now they want to further divide our province by spreading the false narrative that a harvest this season would be destabilize the moose population."

"We are standing firm on our commitment to a balanced approach for Métis Harvesters seeking moose meat to feed their families and Elders, while limiting the number of animals taken," said President Chartrand. "Though Pallister may not like it, there have been many decisions by the courts that explain this very well. What he is doing is creating rifts and divisions amongst Manitobans and spending taxpayer's money in a frivolous fashion, even after he has talked about how good a job he is doing in that regard. It is getting clearer every day that this Premier and this government never intended to represent all Manitobans.

"We will not let any Government trample over our section 35 rights," continued Chartrand.

This Bill also gives Manitoba the alleged authority to establish standard management committees for conservation and management of wildlife in specific areas and in contravention of Constitutional law.

"These proposed committees are intended to issue recommendations to close hunting to specific areas, including the Indigenous harvest and also recommend the establishment of processes to allocate authorization to aboriginal persons. Only Indigenous Nations have the right to make those decisions, not the crown or its committees," explained President Chartrand. "This is a clear reaction to the recent announcement that there will be a Métis Nation and First Nations joint conservation initiative.

"Pallister frequently talks about the 'gold standard' he has when it comes to consultation with Indigenous peoples in this province," continued President Chartrand. "I believe that what he carries with pride is more like 'fool's gold'. There has been zero interaction with the Métis Nation on any of these regulations or bills that clearly step on our constitutional rights."

Finally, this law also will make night hunting unlawful unless an Indigenous harvester applies for a permit.

"We want to take this opportunity to remind Métis Harvesters that the MMF already banned night hunting for all Métis Harvesters in 2019," recalls Minister LaPlante. "Our people spoke of their concerns regarding the unsafe practice of night hunting, and we listened. As the Founders of Manitoba, we take our responsibility to protect the safety of all Manitobans very seriously."

The MMF will continue to stand by its balanced approach to harvesting and conservation. A limited number of bull moose will be taken for community sharing and uphold the culture and traditions of our Citizens. Any Métis harvester card holder with a drawn tag who is charged by this Premier will be protected by your Métis Government.


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