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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Landmark ruling on rights of Metis upheld by Federal Court of Appeals in Canada

OTTAWA – The Federal Court of Appeal has largely upheld a landmark ruling that could vastly expand the ranks of people considered Indians under the Constitution.
A Federal Court ruling last year brought Metis and non-status Indians into the ranks of people considered “Indians” under the Constitution.
On Thursday, the appeals court upheld part of that decision – ruling that only Metis are included as Indians under the Constitution, but not non-status Indians.
The case dragged on for years before last year’s ruling.
The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and several Metis and non-status Indians took the federal government to court in 1999, alleging discrimination because they were not considered “Indians” under a section of the Constitution Act.
If the decision is left to stand, it would vastly expand Ottawa’s responsibilities for hundreds of thousands of aboriginal people in Canada who are not affiliated with specific reserves and have essentially no access to First Nations programs, services and rights.
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