Manitoba Metis appeal judgment rejecting land claim
The Manitoba Métis Federation is appealing a Court of Queen's Bench judgment dismissing a huge land claim that could have been worth billions of dollars.
In December, Justice Alan MacInnes rejected the federation's claims that their ancestors had a treaty with Ottawa in 1870 over a 566,000-hectare stretch of land in the Red River Valley that includes most of modern-day Winnipeg.
"We are enthusiastic and convinced that these historic grievances will be resolved in the higher courts," federation president David Chartrand said in a release Friday. "We will be waiting for a court date to continue our struggle for justice."
The appeal said MacInnes made 27 errors in his judgment of Dec. 7.
MacInnes said the case involved the Manitoba Act of 1870 — not a treaty or agreement — and too much time had passed between the signing of the act and the lawsuit, which was filed in 1981.
The federation claimed the land was stolen by the federal and provincial governments and crooked land speculators.
Chartrand said recently that the Manitoba Act was accompanied by "solemn promises," which included distributing land to the Métis children.
But instead, there were delays of a decade or more in allotting the land, and Métis "were excluded from choosing lands that were too valuable."
When they did get land, it was of little benefit or value, Chartrand said.
The governments of Manitoba and Canada said the land transfers, although unfortunate, did not breach the Manitoba Act.