Metis Researcher Allowed To Testify In Land Claim

Friday, March 03, 2006 at 15:09



The Metis have won a victory of sorts in the courts over a large land claim in northwest Saskatchewan.


The federal government had asked a federal court judge to bar the testimony of the Metis’ lead reseacher, Dr. Frank Tough.


The government filed the motion because the Metis were unwilling to hand over the evidence that’s been gathered so far to support the claim.


Evidence is required to be shared in cases like this, but the Metis argued it would be too costly and time-consuming to assemble what’s been uncovered at this stage.


The judge decided not to bar Tough’s research or testimony, but did order a stay of proceedings in the land claim case.


Metis National Council president Clem Chartier says all this means is that when the Metis are finally ready to take this case to trial, they will first have to supply the government with the research it wants in order to have the stay lifted.


Chartier refuses to venture a guess as to when the land claim will proceed, and says funding is a larger obstacle than legal wranglings.


He says some experts have predicted it will take $10 million to fight the claim in the courts — a sum of money Chartier admits northwest Metis communities will have a hard time raising.


He hopes the new Tory government will agree to help fund the cost.