Well, there is grounds for cautious optimism on this front in the wake of a court decision in British Columbia relating to a Metis person by the name of Gregory Willison who shot an antlered mule deer near Falkland, BC in 2000. Willison had argued he had a blanket right to hunt deer out of season for food as a Metis person. Not so, a Crown counsel has successfully argued before a BC Supreme Court. The counsel argued that Willison did not meet four of 10 crucial requirements that must be met before a Meti can press his rights to hunt outside the normal regulatory structure of hunting. All four of those requirements relate to the hunting taking place where there is a historic and contemporary Metis community with a continuing historic practice of subsistence hunting. The person claiming the Metis right must also have sufficient ancestral connection to that particular Metis community. In other words, the BC court found that a person of Metis background cannot hunt and fish at will anywhere in Canada, but must meet very specific parameters.
Is this a sign that Metis rights may be reversed? Probably not, but it does indicate that the Canadian government sees the necessity to regulate such hunting. In that regard, the Alberta Government has created what it calls a MLA Committee on Metis Harvesting. Its mandate is to examine and respond to concerns from the public about Metis rights to hunt and fish.
This past spring, that committee issued a report that focuses on defining just who is a Meti and where he can and cannot hunt. Of particular note, the committee recommended that membership in the Metis Nation of Alberta (MNA) no........(continued)