Prime Minister Trudeau’s Mandate to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General

Link to letter here.

“I made a personal commitment to bring new leadership and a new tone to Ottawa. We made a commitment to Canadians to pursue our goals with a renewed sense of collaboration. Improved partnerships with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments are essential to deliver the real, positive change that we promised Canadians. No relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.”

Some top priorities:

  • “Develop, in collaboration with the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and supported by the Minister of Status of Women, an approach to, and a mandate for, an inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls in Canada, including the identification of a lead Minister.
  • Work with the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to address gaps in services to Aboriginal people and those with mental illness throughout the criminal justice system.”

Canadian Federal Court of Appeal affirms that 400,000 Métis have Indian status

In a historic decision, Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal today affirmed a 2013 Federal Court ruling that Métis are “Indians” under section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867.  The decision impacts approximately 350,00 – 400,000 Métis in Canada.  The court did not include non-status Indians in the decision, opting instead to decide Indian status for these groups on a case-by-case basis.

From CBC News:  “[The Daniels decision] could be one of the most significant cases dealing with aboriginal peoples in Canadian history,” said University of Ottawa law professor Larry Chartrand in an interview with CBC News. “It has the potential of completely changing the landscape of aboriginal-Canadian relations.”

News reports are here and here.

A copy of the Daniels decision is here.

In a statement posted here, President Clément Chartier of the Métis National Council stated that “I applaud today’s decision of the Federal Court of Appeal in the Daniels case. It reinforces our longstanding position that the federal government has constitutional responsibility to deal with the Métis.”


Supreme Court of Canada Aboriginal Law Stats

Here are the updated stats for the Supreme Court of Canada’s rulings in Aboriginal law cases since the patriation of the Constitution in 1982.  There have been some big changes since the last update a few years ago – Justices Binnie (14/33 – 42.4% in favor of Aboriginal interests), Charron (6/19 – 31.5%), and Deschamps (7/23 – 30.4) have left and Justices Moldaver (0/2 – 0%), Karakatsanis (0/2 – 0%) and Wagner (0/1 – 0%) are not off to a very auspicious start since coming on board.

Overall, as the court sits today, the Justices have collectively found in favor of Aboriginal interests only 30.7% of the time.  Here’s the breakdown by individual Justice – McLachlin: 35.1% (19/54); LeBel: 23% (6/26); Fish: 36.3% (8/22); Abella: 35% (7/20); Rothstein: 25% (4/16); Cromwell: 30% (3/10); Moldaver: 0% (0/2); Karakatsanis: 0% (0/2); and Wagner: 0% (0/1).

Supreme Court of Canada’s Aboriginal Law Stats

Update, Walking With Our Sisters First Exhibit Opening October 2

The Walking With Our Sisters Exhibit will open to the public on October 2, 2013 at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

For anyone not familiar with this exhibit, it originated with Métis artist Christi Belcourt, who was looking for a way to raise awareness about the 600+ missing or murdered Indigenous women in Canada. Her original plan was to have 600 moccasin vamps (uppers) made to symbolically represent these women. She sent out requests to the community to see if anyone would be willing to donate vamps to this project. The response to her call has far exceeded her expectations. The final number of vamps that have been created and donated to the project is now 1,723. This overwhelming response is a testament to the impact violence against women has had on Indigenous communities, not only in Canada but in the United States and other places around the world.

A site has been created with information about the project, the schedule of exhibits, pictures of the donated vamps, media releases, and more. Link here.

Previous coverage here.

At this time, Canada has not yet positively responded to requests for an inquiry into the disappearances and unsolved murders of these women.

This project is about these women, paying respect to their lives and existence on this earth.  They are not forgotten.  They are sisters, mothers, daughters, cousins, aunties, grandmothers, friends and wives.  They have been cared for, they have been loved, and they are missing.

Manitoba Métis Federation’s Motion To State Constitutional Question Denied By SC of Canada

Concerning the leave to appeal, which was granted to the Manitoba Métis Federation on February 10th, 2011, (and has not yet been inscribed for hearing) the Supreme Court of Canada (McLachlin C.J.) has dismissed the Manitoba Métis Federation’s motion to state a constitutional question.  The lower courts  (Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba and the Court of Appeal of Manitoba) based their decisions on laches, lack of fiduciary duty, and mootness.  Here’s the dismissal.

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Supreme Court of Canada Grants Leave To Appeal To Manitoba Métis Federation

This should be interesting (at least for those so inclined Canadians) to watch down the road.  The Manitoba Métis Federation is appealing a Manitoba Court of Appeal decision handed down on July 7, 2010.  Below is an excerpt from that decision.  And here is the leave to appeal. (note: this leave to appeal is dated February 10, 2011 and unfortunately slipped through, unnoticed, until now).

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