Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ottawa won't be deciding who is Métis: minister

  • Print

OTTAWA -- Indian and Northern Affairs Minister John Duncan said the federal government has no intention of deciding who is and isn't Métis.

Duncan was trying to calm fears among Métis leaders after it came to light Ottawa intends to hire the Canadian Standards Association to develop a verification strategy for Métis identification systems.

Duncan said the contract isn't to decide who is Métis, but to give the government a way to ensure the registration systems in place in the five Métis provinces are satisfactory.

"We're not asking them to determine who's a Métis," Duncan said.

But Manitoba Métis Federation president David Chartrand said the contract with the standards association was never discussed with Métis leaders and it has caused fear the government plans to step in and make changes to how the Métis nations in Canada define their membership.

The issue stems from a 2003 Supreme Court of Canada decision confirming the constitutional rights of the Métis, including hunting rights. The decision, known as the Powley decision, identified the need to determine who would be recognized as Métis. Since then, the federal government has provided funding to the Métis National Council and its five member organizations in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario to develop registration systems.

Chartrand said the organizations spent the last several years negotiating terms of membership and have now amended their constitutions to reflect a common standard. To be considered Métis, you have to prove ancestral ties to the "historic homeland."

The organizations are now in the midst of determining the geographic boundaries of that homeland. Discussions on the subject will continue in Edmonton this coming weekend.

Duncan said the Canadian Standards Council contract is intended to ensure the five different systems work together, have measurable objectives that can be verified and are consistent with the Powley decision.

"It is important that we know that the integrity of the system is there in order to determine who has those special access rights," Duncan said.

Manitoba Conservative MP Shelly Glover, herself Métis, said she is offended by any insinuation the government is going to decide who is and isn't Métis.

She said the media are twisting the government's intentions and trying to drive a wedge in the Métis community. "It's disrespectful, it's divisive," she said.

She said she would call Chartrand to allay his fears.

But the Métis leader said the government snuck this contract in without any prior notice to the Métis federations, which makes him suspicious.

"If they were sincere... don't you think they would sit down with us first?" he asked. "What is their agenda here?"

He said the only way the MMF and other Métis organizations found out about the Canadian Standards Association contract was by fluke last week when a member was searching the MERX system for information on the government procurement process.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 8, 2011 A6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Lawless in the Morning: Gary answers your questions (March 25)

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Challenges of Life- Goose Goslings jump over railway tracks to catch up to their parents at the Canadian Pacific Railway terminalon Keewatin St in Winnipeg Thursday morning. The young goslings seem to normally hatch in the truck yard a few weeks before others in town- Standup photo- ( Day 4 of Bryksa’s 30 day goose project) - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Has your opinion of Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec changed given his latest winning streak?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google