Métis Nation-Sask. sues province, alleging failure to consult on land rights

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“The rights and concerns of Saskatchewan Métis have been marginalized for too long. The 2010 policy has perpetuated this harm and has denied Saskatchewan Métis the rights and protections they are owed by Section 35 of the Constitution. This must and will change.”

The MN-S claims that the province refuses to consider Metis land and commercial harvesting rights when making decisions that will affect Metis communities, lands and resources — especially when it comes to mineral interests — and that the province’s notice and consultation policies are inconsistent with the MN-S constitution.

The organization hopes the courts will force the government to disclose all matters for which it should have received notice or consultation, as well as any costs, damages, and other appropriate relief since 2010.

Because other First Nations ins the province also face obstacles related to the 2010 policy, the MN-S expects this claim to have wider reaching implications, the news release stated.

Ministry of Justice spokesperson Noel Busse said the province hadn’t received a statement of claim regarding the 2010 policy, adding that it was “unaware of the specific allegations being made.”

In a prepared statement, he added the province “values its relationship with the Metis Nation and is committed to working constructively with (MN-S) and all our First Nations partners.”

The  MN-S filed a claim earlier this month against uranium development company NexGen Energy Ltd., alleging it failed to negotiate an impact benefit agreement (IBA) by June. At the time, MN-S lawyer Tom Isaac raised the issue of the 2010 policy alongside the NexGen concerns, saying the province’s rules were a key context of the dispute.

In a statement, MN-S spokeswoman Julia Burns wrote the province had to “live up to the law.”

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