The president of the Metis National Council says he’s optimistic about a court-case involving the jurisdiction of Metis people.
Clem Chartier was one of the people who attended this week’s hearing of the Harry Daniels case at the Federal court of appeal.
The case was made necessary after Ottawa appealed a federal court decision that recognized Metis and non-status residents as “Indians” under the 1867 Constitution.
The government is arguing against the original ruling saying the Metis are a distinct people who make up a nation.
Chartier says he agrees with the government’s position up to that point.
However he argues that even though the Metis people are a nation, they should still be recognized on the same jurisdictional level as First Nations and Inuit:
“The Metis National Council of course, Metis Nation of Ontario, Manitoba Metis Federation — we say yes. We’re of the same mind with the federal government that the Metis are a distinct people, that we are a nation. But that does not exclude us from falling within the generic term “Indian” in 1867.”
Chartier says the whole relationship between Metis people and the government is at stake with this ruling:
“The whole relationship with the federal government is at stake. For the Metis nation particularly, we want a deal with the federal government on a nation-to-nation basis. We don’t want our nation to be carved up into five provincial jurisdictions where we’re always dealing separately with these governments.”
Chartier says one of the judges noted it would be strange to have one of the three aboriginal groups recognized in Canada to be treated differently than the other two.
A decision isn’t expected for several months.