Nfld. & Labrador

Don't complain to us, Rideout tells Métis

Newfoundland and Labrador cannot act on grievances from the Labrador Métis Nation until the federal government acknowledges land-claim rights, a minister says.

The Newfoundland and Labrador government cannot act on grievances from the Labrador Métis Nation until the federal government acknowledges land-claim rights, a minister says.

The Labrador Métis Nation launched a provocative advertising campaign that accuses Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams of breaking a campaign promise.

The Métis say Williams has failed to follow through on a pledge to allow Labrador Métis to hunt and fish for personal use.

However, Tom Rideout, the minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, said the province cannot act until the federal government makes a key move.

"No negotiations have taken place, and none can take place until a… national government accepts the fact that they do, in fact, have the basis for a claim," Rideout told reporters Wednesday.

Rideout said the same process formed the basis for the Labrador Inuit self-government, and that Labrador's Innu Nation is in the midst of similar negotiations.

The Labrador Métis Nation took advantage of advertising campaigns launched by Williams and the federal Conservative government over equalization.

"Since we're in this whole spirit of a national debate of promises being kept and promises being broken, we've decided to join the fray, so to speak," said LMN president Chris Montague.

"That's we want the premier to uphold— the standard he expects from the federal government."

Rideout said the provincial government has not broken any promises. He noted that the Labrador Métis application has been before the federal government for many years.

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