The Federal Court ruled on Tuesday, January 8th in a substantive case filed by the late Harry Daniels, Gabriel Daniels, Leah Gardiner, Terry Joudrey, and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) in 1999 against the Majesty the Queen, as represented by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Attorney General of Canada.
The case entitled (Daniels v. Canada) was seeking recognition of three basic principles, in that:
- Métis and Non-Status Indians are Indians under subsection 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867,
- The Crown owes to Métis and Non-Status Indians a fiduciary duty as Aboriginal peoples,
- Canada must negotiate and consult with the Métis and Non-Status Indians, on a collective basis through representatives of their choice, with respect to their rights, interests and needs as Aboriginal peoples.
The Federal Court agreed that Métis and Non Status Indians are defined under the term “Indian” for the purposes of Section 91(24) [para 619]. The Federal Court did not support the fiduciary duty claim at this time. However, given the declaration of right in respect of section 91(24) the court stated that one would expect that the Federal Government would act in accordance with whatever duty arises in respect of any specific matter touching on the non-clarified fiduciary relationship [para 609]. Finally the Federal Court did not grant the declaration for negotiation and consultation. However once again the court stated that hopefully the resolution of the constitutional issue of section 91(24) will facilitate resolution on other matters [para 617].
The outcome of these three specific questions is critical to the future for all Métis and non Status Indians and the Federal Court was not prepared to essentially fully address all three aspects, specially the fiduciary duty and negotiations. However the significance now of the ruling that Métis and Non Status Indians falling under 91(24) will in essence force new processes that will ultimately further define such matters in our view.
Of potential interest to individuals and groups seeking to understand Metis
rights management (i.e., Hunting privileges, etc.). The article focuses on
Canadian Government research focusing on the “possible existence of
particular historic Métis communities across Canada”. Retrieved today from:
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