Closing Arguments Heard In Metis Harvesting Case

Friday, June 22, 2007 at 15:32



Closing arguments have been delivered in a trial in Fort Qu’Appelle that could clarify Metis hunting and fishing rights in southern Saskatchewan.


The case revolves around a fisherman named Don Belhumeur who was charged with fishing without a licence on Lake Katepwa in 2004.


The Metis man challenged the ruling, saying he is a member of the Parkland-Grasslands Metis community which stretches from southwestern Manitoba to southern Alberta.


Crown lawyer Mitch McAdam says the government thinks Belhumeur’s argument uses too broad an interpretation and application of the term “Metis community”.


McAdam notes northern Saskatchewan has seen test cases similar to this one.


However, he says both the Laviolette and Daigneault court cases originated in specific Metis communities — and that’s why the province recognizes certain Metis harvesting rights in northwest Saskatchewan.


McAdam says the Belhumeur case could potentially open up subsistence harvesting rights for southern Saskatchewan Metis — if the judge agrees with the defence.


A ruling is expected on October 18th.