New Métis Hunting & Fishing Agreement to be Negotiated
The Alberta government has accepted the report of a committee examining Métis hunting and fishing rights. The government will resume negotiations on a new agreement with the Métis Nation of Alberta and the Métis Settlements General Council as a result of the report's recommendations.
The report of the MLA Committee on Métis Harvesting recognizes the right of Métis people to harvest fish and wildlife for food, and recommends new criteria for determining who qualifies and where they can hunt. The report also recommends new processes to ensure conservation of Alberta's fish and wildlife.
"Alberta has always been a leader in recognizing Métis culture and society, and we want to negotiate a new agreement together - one that balances the rights of the Métis people with wildlife conservation," said Ron Stevens, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. "This report provides us with the guidelines to do that."
The MLA Committee on Métis Harvesting was established in June 2005 in response to concerns by some members of the public with the current interim agreements between government and the Métis Nation of Alberta and the Métis Settlements General Council. The interim agreements were negotiated as the result of a Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2003, which recognized a Métis right to hunt for food.
The MLA Committee's recommendations were presented to the ministries of Justice, Sustainable Resource Development and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
"Alberta's approach has always been to negotiate agreements and to avoid litigation with Aboriginal people whenever possible. The government is not taking unilateral action on Métis harvesting and will be entering into negotiations," said Pearl Calahasen, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
"As always, we will ensure that our monitoring and enforcement systems are consistent with the agreements," said David Coutts, Minister of Sustainable Resource Development.
The committee consisted of Denis Ducharme (Chair, and MLA, Bonnyville-Cold Lake), Frank Oberle (MLA, Peace River) and Neil Brown (MLA, Calgary-Nose Hill). The Committee consulted with First Nations and Métis organizations, conservation groups, outdoor organizations, as well as numerous interested individuals.