The Federal Court of Canada held today that the North Slave Métis Alliance (NSMA) was not adequately consulted by Canada respecting the Northwest Territory Métis Nation Land and Resources Agreement-in-Principle signed July 31, 2015 (NWTMN AiP).
The Federal Court held that the NWTMN AiP signals the intention of Canada to extinguish the Aboriginal rights of all NSMA members who may have a Dene ancestor from the South Slave region, even if those NSMA members do not enrol under a final agreement. The Court found that the NWTMN AiP is based on Indian ancestry not Métis ethnicity, and that Canada was blind to that difference when it consulted with NSMA about the AiP. That indifference poisoned the consultation process, and closed Canada’s mind to the reasonable accommodation proposals made by NSMA.
The Court also questioned the legitimacy of the NWTMN as a representative of the Métis of the Great Slave Lake area, noting that only the NSMA had proven it was a legitimate representative of Métis people.
The Court has now ordered Canada to consult with NSMA about appropriate accommodation measures, and has stayed any conclusion of a NWTMN final agreement until meaningful consultations occur.
Congratulations to the NSMA and their legal team at DGW, Christopher Devlin and Kate Gower, on this important Federal Court decision for the NSMA and Métis of the Great Slave Lake area.
Read the full decision here.