Indigenous Success Stories: Métis

October 1, 2021

Métis Nations of Alberta and Ontario

Métis Nations of Alberta and Ontario – Métis Nation of Ontario and Métis Nation of Alberta were successful in their joint Intervention before the Supreme Court of Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in City of Toronto v Ontario (Attorney General). This case was about the fairness of a municipal election in one city, but the decision also raised the issue of how Canada’s Constitution is to be interpreted and the role of unwritten constitutional principles in protecting the rights of all Canadian citizens, including the unique rights and interest of Indigenous peoples.

The Métis Nation of Ontario (“MNO”) and Métis Nation of Alberta (“MNA”) jointly intervened in the case to protect the unwritten constitutional principle of the honour of the Crown that is owed to Indigenous peoples. While the 5/4 majority of the Supreme Court held that “unwritten constitutional principles cannot serve as the basis for invalidating legislation,” the majority went on to recognize the unique nature of the honour of the Crown and held the following:

[62] The unwritten constitutional principle of the honour of the Crown is sui generis. As correctly noted in submissions of the interveners the Métis Nation of Ontario and the Métis Nation of Alberta, the honour of the Crown arises from the assertion of Crown sovereignty over pre-existing Aboriginal societies, and from the unique relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples. We need not decide here whether the principle is capable of grounding the constitutional invalidation of legislation, but if it is, it is unique in that regard.
The dissenting opinion, written by retiring Justice Rosalie Abella, went even farther, noting that “of course, the unwritten constitutional principle of the honour of the Crown has been affirmed by this Court and accorded full legal force.”

“We are pleased that the entirety of the Supreme Court of Canada recognizes the unique purpose of the honour of the Crown, as a constitutional principle, and that its full legal force has been once again confirmed and protected by the highest court in Canada,” concluded Métis lawyer Jason Madden Madden.

August 5, 2020

Indigenous Advisory Committee

NationTalk – For the first time ever, Canada’s federal energy regulator has an Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC) who will advise the Board of Directors on how the Canada Energy Regulatort (CER) can build a new relationship with Indigenous peoples. Members of the IAC are leaders at the local, regional and national level, are respected voices of their communities, and bring deep experience in the energy and natural resources sector.

The committee is made up of nine members, three of whom are appointed directly by national Indigenous organizations: the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. The IAC provides advice from the diversity of its members’ Indigenous perspectives and is an integral part of the CER’s formal governance structure. IAC Members:

  • Contribute strategic advice and perspective on how the CER can make meaningful progress towards reconciliation in Canada;
  • Promote opportunities for positive systemic change through building and strengthening new relationships with the Board and CER staff;
  • Leverage their experience with the energy and/or natural resource sector in providing advice;
  • Share Indigenous values and teachings as a respected voice of their communities, so the IAC and CER can learn from each other and integrate Indigenous perspectives in the CER’s strategies, plans and actions.