MNO President Lipinski with Métis lawyers Jason Madden and Jean Teillet and
Métis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras earlier in the year at the
Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) is currently present as an intervener at the Daniels Case Federal Court of Appeal hearing which is taking place in Ottawa from October 29-31.
The question before the court is if Métis fall under federal jurisdiction. Due to the significance of the case to Métis rights, the MNO successfully sought out intervener status in the case and Métis lawyer Jean Teillet is representing the MNO at the Federal Court of Appeal.
On January 8, 2013, the Federal Court Trial Division released its long-anticipated judgment in Daniels v. Canada. The case was initiated by now deceased Métis Leader Harry Daniels, for the purpose of forcing the federal government to acknowledge that Métis people fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government and should enjoy rights and recognition comparable to First Nations. The Federal Court of Canada ruled that Daniels v. Canada establishes that Métis fall under federal jurisdiction and meet the definition of “Indian,” outlined in the Canadian Constitution after which, the federal government appealed the decision.
“Depending on the outcome of the case, it could potentially impact Métis people across Canada because the federal government has not yet acknowledged responsibility of the Métis,” said MNO President Gary Lipinski. “If the ruling goes in our favour, we will be in a much stronger position to press the government for negotiations on a whole range of issues.”
“The idea of whether we are provincial jurisdiction or federal jurisdiction is very important to know,” explained Teillet.
The main point Teillet will make on behalf of the MNO to the court is in regards to how the term “Indian” in section 91(24) in Constitution Act, 1867 should be interpreted.
“The provision shouldn’t be interpreted as racial provision,” explained Teillet. “We should be looking at Aboriginal and Métis peoples… as collectives, as a people with their own customs and traditions.”
“I am going to be making a lot of submissions about them not looking at this as a racial provision and also supporting the final judgement which is that Métis are federal jurisdiction as are all Aboriginal people,” she stated.
The federal government has denied its responsibility for the Métis and the case has been before the courts for 13 years.