Clem Paul’s huge Métis court case begins in Yellowknife
The public got a taste of what may lie ahead in a massive civil case that will define the rights of Treaty 11 Métis in the Northwest Territories’ North Slave region.
The case began in 2005, when the territorial government accused a Métis man, Clem Paul, of trespassing on Commissioner's land along the Ingraham Trail.
Paul was building a 1,200 square foot cabin at Cassidy Point without any permits.
The trespassing charge has since turned into a massive case about Métis rights.
Yesterday Paul's lawyer said the federal and territorial government's appear determined to add to the expense of a case that will already cost millions of dollars to decide.
Ken Staroszik, accused the federal and territorial governments of using every opportunity to prevent the case from getting to trial.
The Calgary lawyer made the statements in court yesterday while arguing for the governments to advance Paul half of the more than $3 million it will cost him to get the case to trial.
Staroszik says for six years the central issue in the case was whether there was a distinct Métis society in the region, but he says a year ago the territorial and federal governments started arguing that Paul's Treaty 11 rights were extinguished by the Tlicho Agreement.
Staroszik — who has been arguing aboriginal rights cases for more than thirty years — says lawsuits which governments are involved in typically take three times longer to resolve than those between private parties.
The territorial and federal governments are arguing against helping Paul finance the case.
The judge is expected to hear from their lawyers today.