Comox Valley Record

Métis decision could cost billions

A Tuesday federal court decision recognizing Métis and non-status Indians as 'Indians' could cost government billions of dollars, some experts say.

The ruling could also entitle Métis and non-status Indians to the same benefits as registered status Indians including tax exemptions if living on a reserve, hunting and fishing rights, health benefits and education subsidies.

"The court ruled that Métis and non-status Indians meet the definition under the section of the Constitutional Act," said Roger Kishi, program director at the Wachiay Friendship Centre, which serves Métis in the Comox Valley. "We'll have to wait and see what the federal government does about that."

According to the 2006 census, nearly 400,000 Canadians identified themselves as Métis, although only about half are officially recognized. In the Comox Valley, Census numbers indicate about 2,400 individuals are identified as aboriginal, Kishi said.

Government could appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada and the Appeals Court — which means it could be several years of court proceedings before Métis or non-status Indians reap any benefits.

"Right now, we're just going to continue to monitor and see what actually happens out of it," Kishi said, noting the process that resulted in Tuesday's court decision originated in 1999.

"They (federal government) certainly seem to have a number of issues to deal with in relation to aboriginal relations these days."

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples calls Tuesday's ruling a "landmark ruling."

“This is an historical step to end the discrimination and the denial of aboriginal treaty and birthrights that has existed for far too long among Métis and non-status Indians,” Congress national Chief Betty Ann Lavallee said in a news release.

With a file from CBC News

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Hundreds attend Lorne project open house
 
Breakfast with Santa
 
Vanier teacher offers donation option for Giving Tuesday
NIC presents Offering Hope to Refugees
 
Part 2: Mushrooms for health and wealth
 
And then there’s the ferry
Today on the Hill: Stopping violence
 
NDP demands audit of Multi-Material BC
 
Surgical waits average five months in B.C.

Community Events, November 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Nov 27 edition online now. Browse the archives.