Metis Want Courts To Rule On Cross-Border Hunting

Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 12:34



A northern Metis leader says he’s tired of seeing politics trump his people’s right to face the Alberta government in court.


Philip Chartier thought today would be the day that he and other Metis would finally get to tell a judge why they believe they have a right to hunt and fish freely, on either side of the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.


Chartier’s group wants the issue to be resolved in court, and with Alberta environment officials having finally laid charges against La Loche elder Alfred Janvier for illegal fishing — two weeks after ignoring a similar effort by the group — the matter was to be heard in court today.


Now Alberta officials have decided to drop the charges, and Chartier says he’s getting annoyed by the government’s refusal to resolve the issue.


“I wish someone would get an answer from the Alberta government on why they keep dropping the charges. Either they recognize them (Metis rights), or let’s settle it in court,” Chartier says.


“They have a justice system, and they’re playing politics, trying to skirt the issue.”


Chartier says Alberta officials need to know that the Metis are too stubborn to let this one go — and to prove it, he’s already planning the group’s next fishing trip to Alberta’s Gregoire Lake.


A spokesperson for the Alberta government’s Sustainable Resource Development department has not returned calls for comment.