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A Victory in the Struggle for M¨¦tis Rights
M¨¦tis Leader Harry Daniels, who initiated Daniels v Canada,
which determined on Jan. 8 that M¨¦tis fall under the jurisdiction
of the federal government.

Listen to a radio interview by Sunshine 89.1 with
MNO President Gary Lipinski about the Daniels v.
Canada ruling
>

Listen to a radio interview by CBC with MNO President
Gary Lipinski about the Daniels v. Canada ruling
>

(Ottawa) On January 8, 2013, the Federal Court Trial Division released its long-anticipated judgment in Daniels v. Canada. The case was initiated by now deceased M¨¦tis Leader Harry Daniels, for the purpose of forcing the federal government to acknowledge that M¨¦tis people fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government and should enjoy rights and recognition comparable to First Nations.

For in depth background on Daniels v Canada, click here to read a summary by M¨¦tis lawyers Jean Teillet and Jason Madden.

The recognition we received from the Federal Court today, ¡°explained M¨¦tis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Gary Lipinski, ¡°is part of what M¨¦tis people have been fighting for since Louis Riel. By acknowledging that the federal government is indeed responsible for the M¨¦tis, we are that much closer to finding our rightful place within the Canadian Federation.¡±

In the ruling, Judge Phelan declared that the federal government has jurisdiction for M¨¦tis under s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867. That head of power states that the federal government has exclusive legislative authority with respect to ¡°Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians.¡± This case effectively finds that M¨¦tis are ¡°Indians¡± within the meaning of s. 91(24). The case also determined that non-status Indians are ¡°Indians¡± within the meaning of s. 91(24).

The Government of Canada opposed the claim and the case took 13 years before today¡¯s decision. ¡°It is frustrating,¡± stated President Lipinski, ¡°that the federal government worked so hard to deny its responsibilities but hopefully with this decision we will see a different approach from Canada to the M¨¦tis.¡± He added: ¡°Because the federal government did not acknowledge its jurisdiction for the M¨¦tis, our progress in areas such as education and health has not been properly supported and no mechanism was in place to deal with M¨¦tis land claims and other historic grievances.¡±

¡°We call on the federal government,¡± concluded President Lipinski, ¡°to begin consultations and negotiations with M¨¦tis governments. Enough time has been lost fighting these issues in courts. It is now time for the federal government and the M¨¦tis to work together.¡±

In the ruling, Judge Phelan declared that the federal government has jurisdiction for M¨¦tis under s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867. That head of power states that the federal government has exclusive legislative authority with respect to ¡°Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians.¡± This case effectively finds that M¨¦tis are ¡°Indians¡± within the meaning of s. 91(24). The case also determined that non-status Indians are ¡°Indians¡± within the meaning of s. 91(24).

The Government of Canada opposed the claim and the case took 13 years before today¡¯s decision. ¡°It is frustrating,¡± stated President Lipinski, ¡°that the federal government worked so hard to deny its responsibilities but hopefully with this decision we will see a different approach from Canada to the M¨¦tis.¡± He added: ¡°Because the federal government did not acknowledge its jurisdiction for the M¨¦tis, our progress in areas such as education and health has not been properly supported and no mechanism was in place to deal with M¨¦tis land claims and other historic grievances.¡±

¡°We call on the federal government,¡± concluded President Lipinski, ¡°to begin consultations and negotiations with M¨¦tis governments. Enough time has been lost fighting these issues in courts. It is now time for the federal government and the M¨¦tis to work together.¡±

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