Métis people hoping to receive the same rights and privileges that status Indians receive from the Canadian government may have a long wait indeed.
The federal court ruled on Tuesday, following a 13-year legal dispute, that Canada’s 200,000 Métis and 400,000 non-status Indians are in fact “Indians” under the Constitution Act.
Status Indians in Canada have access to special rights and privileges related to fishing, hunting and trapping, financial assistance for postsecondary education, and certain tax exemptions, among other things.
The federal government is expected to appeal Tuesday’s ruling. “This is really going to throw a cat amongst the pigeons,” said Gerry St. Germain, a Métis and former Conservative Senator for B.C. who retired last year, at age 75. “I’m going to be watching it with great interest.”
“Let’s see where this all flows,” the South Surrey resident said. “I think it’s going to cause a lot of expectations that may not be fulfilled. “It’s premature to speculate.”
Ken Fisher, president of Nova Métis Heritage Association in Whalley, figures that “in all probability” the federal government will soon launch an appeal.
“Still, a step forward is a step forward,” Fisher said. “I’m feeling very positive about it.”
Link to News Article – Surrey