Metis Discuss Hunting Rights with Province

Tuesday, September 30, 2003 at 13:09




Representatives of the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Environment are meeting in Saskatoon today — and Metis hunting rights is expected to dominate the discussion.


The provincial government has said it might take weeks for it to fully understand the implications of the recent Supreme Court ruling on Metis hunting rights.


Environment officials say they need clarification on who qualifies as a Metis person and whether a Metis person has to practice a subsistence lifestyle in order to take advantage of the ruling.


The province has indicated it is willing to have talks with the Metis about how to implement the ruling without endangering wildlife numbers.


Saskatchewan Environment minister Buckley Belanger admits that if Metis hunters want to exercise their rights right now, the courts would likely eventually back them up. However, he says that’s a costly process for both sides, and is urging hunters to wait for a negotiated resolution.


Belanger feels a negotiated arrangement could be in place within months, but also says the recent ruling has created a sense of urgency.