Métis decision could cost billions

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

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

Just Posted

Comox Valley’s Rainbow Youth Theatre hosting 30th birthday party

Join Rainbow Youth Theatre for a 30th anniversary celebration at the Sid… Continue reading

Hear from the Comox Valley’s female candidates at Person’s Day lunch

Candidates will have opportunity to present, distribute election materials and meet women voters

Comox Valley frontline resource fair upcoming

Did you know that for the past 12 years your local AHERO… Continue reading

Photos: Autumn anglers on the Puntledge

Fishing enthusiasts take advantage of beautiful weather in the Comox Valley

VIDEO: Comox candidates in the spotlight at forum

Oct. 12 All Candidates Meeting covered variety of issues

Secret supper clubs test appetite for cannabis-infused food ahead of legalization

Chefs are eagerly awaiting pot edibles to become legal in Canada

Enbridge to begin building road to access pipeline explosion site in B.C.

An explosion Tuesday knocked out a 91-centimetre line

Courtenay’s Dingwall Road to be temporarily closed for construction

Next week, the intersection of Dingwall Road and McQuillan Road will be… Continue reading

Andrew Scheer on revamped NAFTA deal: ‘I would have signed a better one’

Conservative leader says he wouldn’t have signed USMCA

Matheson will have NHL hearing after Canucks rookie Pettersson hit

The 19-year-old Swedish centre appeared woozy after the hit

GUEST COLUMN: A better way to manage B.C.’s public construction

Claire Trevena responds to Andrew Wilkinson on NDP union policy

B.C. brewery creates bread beer from food waste

The brew aims to raise food waste awareness and provide funds for the food bank

Dad files Charter challenge after B.C. bans kids from taking transit unsupervised

Adrian Crook is taking his fight to B.C. Supreme Court

B.C. VIEWS: Cast your municipal vote for sanity on homelessness

Thousands on waiting list while anti-capitalist bullies get priority

Most Read