Justin Tang The Canadian Press Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Gary Anandasangaree said in a recent interview that the bill -53 provides a framework and that “we will at some point get to that point” of entering into formal treaties with the Métis Nations.
Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Gary Anandasangaree said the federal government could enter into treaties with the Métis Nations after the passage of a bill affirming their right to self-government and self-determination.< /p>
“At present, no treaty is in force. But we will be able to make treaties at some point,” he said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.
“We’ll get to that point at some point. And if we succeed, it is clear that much more in-depth consultations need to take place,” he added.
The minister's comments come as Bill C-35, which would affirm Métis rights to self-determination and self-government in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan, faces continued criticism from of First Nations groups concerned about land and resource rights being granted to Métis groups without first being consulted.
The Chiefs of Ontario, an organization that represents 133 First Nations from the province, traveled to Ottawa in mid-September to discuss their concerns with politicians.
The group says the bill would irreparably harm the rights inherent and derived from First Nations treaties and that Canada should have consulted them on the bill.
Mr. Anandasangaree said Bill C-35 is “essentially a framework.” It “doesn’t really recognize land rights. It does not recognize harvesting rights or any other rights enshrined in the Constitution,” he said.
“And we look forward to feedback from First Nations and all those concerned », he added.
The minister noted that the duty to consult is not triggered by the bill itself, “because it is really a recognition of the governance structure that will occur when a treaty will be in place.”
First Nations want their say
But Ontario leaders say that's exactly one of their main concerns: that future treaties signed by Métis communities and Canada could involve land rights that encroach on their territories.
The Assembly of First Nations, which represents more than 630 First Nations across Canada, is also opposed to the bill.
This organization unanimously adopted a resolution at its annual general assembly in July to protect First Nations from what she calls “unfounded Métis rights” through advocacy and meetings with the Prime Minister.
The resolution also included a request that Canada end all negotiations with the Métis Nation of Ontario until First Nations are meaningfully consulted.
The motion was presented by Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod, who strongly criticized the Métis Nation of Ontario and Bill C-53.
“[The bill] is problematic to many levels for us,” Mr. McLeod said in an interview.
“[The government’s] refusal to talk to First Nations about this issue is extremely disappointing. “It really suggests that Canada is regressing to the good old days when they thought they knew better than the First Nations,” he said.
The president of the Métis Nation of Ontario, Margaret Froh, said stated that this was not the case.
First Nations do not need to be consulted on Bill C-53 because it deals with issues internal to Métis communities, a- she declared.
Other Indigenous Nations were not consulted on the self-government agreements recently signed by First Nations with Canada, she stressed.
Ms. Froh still hopes that there will be discussions with Canada on lands and resources in the future, but that any conversations or negotiations will include First Nations.
“J “hope we can re-establish these positive working relationships for the benefit of all Indigenous peoples in Ontario, both First Nations and Métis,” she said.