Friday, January 11, 2013

Who is Metis?

 Some media are suggesting the recent federal decision that Metis are to be considered as Indian for constitutional purposes will lead to an open ended free for all where people look for traces of aboriginal heritage to take unfair advantage of federal resources. 


First, it is clear that Metis are included as aboriginal peoples - that is right in the Constitution Act 1982. Moreover there is a longstanding and straightforward legal definition of Metis that makes clear race is not the main issue. 

R. v. Powley, 2003 SCC 43, [2003] 2 SCR 207set the legal definition of "Métis" as people who have continued ties to a historical Métis community, and are accepted as such by that community. There needs be some ancestral connection but racial percentages are not relevant. The real question is connection to an existing community.  Someone with no ties to an existing Metis community cannot just claim to be Metis.  


Anonymous said...

Who do I pay (and how much) to tell the courts that I do have ties to the Metis?

It seems to me that if the Metis are a nation (if they aren't then say so) then it is up to the Metis to determine who does and does not have "connection to an existing community".

I seem to recall, and I may be wrong, that during Rae's disasterous Ontario premiership in dealing with emploment equity if a person declared they were black, native etc. then that was good enough.

Koby said...

Thanks. I was about to long on stock. That said, what you said is great news! I have been friends with native like forever and I really hoping he proves to be my ticket to free housing, dental care, eye care, subsidized post secondary education and a cut of the resource profits.

All kidding aside James, the definition of Metis is as clear as mud. As for Phelan, his decision is fanatically stupid and the worst part is bound to get its stamp of approval from the Supreme Court.

James C Morton said...

Koby, we'll see...!