Metis Concealing Land Claim Research From Ottawa

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 at 14:09



A judge will soon rule on whether a researcher will be barred from providing testimony to support a large Metis land claim in northwest Saskatchewan.


Dr. Frank Tough is a professor at the University of Alberta and is the lead researcher into the Metis claim.


Tough has been digging up evidence to support the claim for several years now — but if the federal government has its way, neither he nor his associates will be allowed to testify.


Ottawa filed the motion in court earlier this year after Metis leaders refused to hand over the evidence that’s been gathered so far.


Their lawyer, Doug Kovatch, says they won’t be able to supply the information without considerable inconvenience and expense.


However, Kovatch admits some of his clients feel the Metis should be allowed to conceal what they’ve uncovered.


Civil law requires all evidence to be provided to the defendants well in advance of the actual trial.


Metis leaders have said the case will head to trial next year, but Kovatch says it will likely be 2007 or 2008 before that happens.