Sask. Metis Plan Test Of Fishing Rights In Alberta

Friday, July 11, 2008 at 15:03



A group of Saskatchewan Metis will be fishing on the Alberta side of Garson Lake this weekend — hoping to bait the Alberta government into charging them with illegal fishing.


Northwest Metis Council spokesman Philip Chartier says they thought they had a good test case for Metis harvestign rights when a La Loche Metis elder was charged with illegally hunting moose near Fort McMurray a couple of years ago.


However, the Alberta government eventually dropped the charge — and Metis leaders believe it’s because the province knew it would lose in court.


Chartier argues they have harvesting rights in northern Alberta based on court rulings in Saskatchewan and at the Supreme Court level.


He says conservation officials have been in touch with his group ever since it publicized its plans for this weekend in a Fort McMurray newspaper.


Chartier says he’s been told conservation officers will be watching this weekend’s event — and if any illegal fishing charges are laid, his group is ready to fight the matter in court.


Chartier says if the C-Os ignore the protest, his group will fish in more northern Alberta lakes until the government takes action.


Sunday’s event is scheduled to run from 11:00 in the morning to 2:00 in the afternoon.


Officials with Alberta Sustainable Resource Development were not immediately available for comment