March 8th, 2013
Statement from Aboriginal Affairs Critic Jean Crowder and Intergovernmental Aboriginal Affairs Romeo Saganash on the Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Manitoba Métis Federation case
In a landmark ruling today, our highest court recognized that the Government of Canada failed to honour its commitment to the descendants of the Métis people of the Red River Valley.
The Métis have been ready and willing to reach a negotiated settlement on this issue for years. It is regrettable that the Manitoba Métis Federation was forced to spend years in court to establish what everyone already knew -- the federal government never delivered on its promise made more than 140 years ago under s.31 of the Manitoba Act of 1870.
New Democrats believe that more time spent in respectful dialogue and consultation would mean less time and money wasted by the government fighting these issues in the courts.
The government must now agree to stop fighting Métis peoples in court and start negotiating in good faith to ensure that justice in this case is not delayed any further.
The NDP has long pushed the Canadian government to recognize and live up to its responsibilities towards all Aboriginal peoples, Métis, Inuit, or First Nations. Unfortunately, we have yet to see real action, or even respectful dialogue, from the Conservatives.