Manitoba Metis Federation President Applauds Recently Released Eyford Report on Land Claims Process
Winnipeg, MB (April 8, 2015) — Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) President David Chartrand expressed appreciation today for the recently released report on the renewal of Canada’s comprehensive claims policy. The report makes a MMF specific recommendation for Canada to address the MMF’s successful Supreme Court decision.
The report, prepared by Doug Eyford, a Vancouver-based lawyer, recommends Canada create a “reconciliation process” to address Métis rights and that it “establish a framework for negotiations” to address the MMF’s Land Claim Case. A copy of the report is available at http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1426169199009/1426169236218.
“The MMF welcomes Mr. Eyford’s recommendations,” said MMF President David Chartrand. “We would highlight that upon Mr. Eyford’s independent review of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in MMF v. Canada, he came to the inescapable conclusion that negotiations between the MMF and Canada are necessary. It is unfortunate that Canada continues to delay the inevitable.”
In November 2014, MMF President Chartrand met with Mr. Eyford to outline the MMF’s concerns with Canada’s current refusal to deal with Métis land and resources rights generally and its unwillingness to engage in a meaningful process of negotiations with the MMF in order to resolve the Manitoba Métis Community’s outstanding legal claim against the federal Crown in relation to the implementation of section 31 of the Manitoba Act, 1870.
Specifically, section 31 provided for 1.4 million acres of land for the children of the Red River Métis. In March 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada declared that the federal Crown’s implementation of this commitment breached the honour of the Crown. Since then, the federal government has refused to engage in a negotiations process with the MMF to begin the resolution of this outstanding Métis claim.
Based on the submissions of the MMF and other Métis governments, Mr. Eyford wrote the following in his report,
Despite succeeding more than 30 years ago in their quest for constitutional recognition, the Métis regard Canada as having failed to accept their status as an Aboriginal group with constitutionally protected rights. The 1986 Policy, like its predecessors, is silent on Métis rights, and the Interim Policy does not specifically address their interests either. Any rights recognition obtained by the Métis has been in the courts, and there have been several successes in recent years. … [Métis] want to negotiate settlements of their outstanding claims against the Crown for “broken promises and unfulfilled obligations”. … Canada must do more in its relationship with the Métis to ensure their section 35 rights are appropriately recognized and can be meaningfully exercised.
Mr. Eyford went on and made the following two Métis-specific recommendations:
- Canada should develop a reconciliation process to support the exercise of Métis section 35(1) rights and to reconcile their interests.
- Canada should establish a framework for negotiations with the Manitoba Metis Federation to respond to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Manitoba Metis Federation v. Canada, 2013 SCC 14.
“We are optimistic the current federal government will listen to the sound advice of its special representative and initiate negotiations with the MMF. A just and lasting settlement in relation to the MMF Land Claim is in everyone’s interests, including the Manitoba Metis, Manitobans and all Canadians,” concluded MMF President Chartrand.