Metis Fishing Case Not About Rights: Alberta Gov’t

Friday, June 26, 2009 at 14:07



The Alberta government says it recently withdrew illegal fishing charges against a Saskatchewan Metis elder because it wants to review its regulations.


Alfred Janvier of La Loche was charged after protesting Alberta’s interpretation of Metis harvesting rights by fishing without a licence on Gregoire Lake earlier this year.


Metis leaders allege the charges were eventually dropped because the Alberta government doesn’t want to see any potential test case head to court.


But government spokesman Darcy Whiteside says the Crown has allowed a number of similar cases to proceed.


“We do have a track record of following through with court cases. We’ve dropped other cases for other fish and wildlife offenses, and we’ve carried through with fish and wildlife offenses,” he says.


“I feel this isn’t a Metis hunting rights issue as much as really an individual case-by-case basis as to fish and wildlife offenses,” Whiteside says.


Whiteside says that as a result of Janvier’s case, Alberta will examine whether non-Alberta residents should be allowed to apply for a domestic fishing licence.


But, he says, Alberta has no intention of dropping the requirement for Metis fishers to have a licence.