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Donald McCargar speaks out on case that proved Metis Nation of Alberta (MNAA) neither a nation nor a governing body - launches further appeal to further define the limited role of the MNAA

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Donald McCargar speaks out on case that proved Metis Nation of Alberta (MNAA) neither a nation nor a governing body - launches further appeal to further define the limited role of the MNAA

Canada NewsWire

EDMONTON, Aug. 30, 2018 /CNW/ - On August 17, 2018, an appeal of a decision by Justice Kevin P. Feehan issued July 20, 2018, determining that the Metis Nation of Alberta Association (MNAA) is just that – only an association and not a nation – was filed by the applicant Donald McCargar (Delorme) on the basis that the presiding Justice did not determine the issues of the case beyond providing a mere interpretation of the Association's bylaws.  In other words, while the decision by Justice Feehan did clarify the role and jurisdiction of the Metis Nation of Alberta and ruled that the MNAA is neither nation nor a governing body for Metis people, the decision failed to go far enough. 

Justice Kevin P. Feehan, "failed to take the application before him to its full conclusion," states McCargar, the member of the MNAA who brought the MNAA to Court for claiming to assert his s. 35 rights to negotiate a treaty on his behalf, his community and the Metis in Alberta. Justice Feehan agreed with McCargar that the MNAA cannot engage in "government to government" negotiation, since the MNAA does not govern Metis people.  Despite the benefit of clarity around the role of the MNAA, McCargar believes that an appeal is needed to further clarify the limited scope, role, and power of the MNAA.

Ironically, and contrary to the July decision, Minister Richard Feehan, Justice Feehan's younger brother and Minister of Indigenous Relations has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the MNAA stating that the Provincial Government is dealing with the MNAA on a "Nation to Nation" basis.  Clearly, that will have to be revisited in light of the July decision. 

McCargar challenges the legality of two Special Resolutions which were passed at the organization's annual general assembly in August 2016 and registered under the Societies Act.  One of the Special Resolutions is an Oath of Membership which states that the member voluntarily authorizes the Metis Nation of Alberta Association to assert and advance collectively-held Metis rights, interests and claims "on behalf of myself, my community and the Metis in Alberta." The oath was interpreted by Justice Feehan as applying only to the new Metis members of the Association, not Metis people at large.  He was silent about the application to the Metis members community.

The other Special Resolution states the objective of the MNAA is to "negotiate, on behalf of the Metis in Alberta, a modern-day Treaty relationship with the Crown through a 'land claims agreement' or other arrangement as called for and contemplated within the meaning of s. 35(3) of the Constitution Act, 1982."  This was interpreted by Justice Feehan as applying ONLY to the Metis members of the Association, and not Metis people at large.

McCargar asserts that the way the MNAA purports to acquire his s. 35 rights for the purpose of collective assertion is contrary to law.  He notes that only 0.5% of the total membership of the MNAA voted on the Special Resolutions, and less than that voted in favour of them.  He states that Justice Feehan did not address the appropriateness of the oath, which is the ability to give an oath on behalf of others in a free and democratic society under the Rule of Law.

"The s. 35 inherent rights of all Metis in Canada first and foremost need to be protected above any organization who purports to be the collective holder of those rights. This is the importance of the Daniels decision. I am seeking direction from the Court for not only what constitutes the proper and legal structural body for the Metis as a collective, but what is the proper and legal procedure for acquiring those rights from s. 35 Metis rights holders," states McCargar.  "We should be having a referendum of all Alberta Metis people, not a Special Resolution at an annual general meeting on this important issue.  At the hearing Justice Feehan stated that this is not an authorization case, yet he saves the Special Resolutions through an interpretation of "Metis Nation" as being just the Association and its Metis members, and then he comments that the MNAA has the authorization to represent its Metis members without confirming that the Association has the authorization to represent our s. 35 rights. It's a weak decision that fails to address the crux of the matter."

SOURCE Donald McCargar

View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/August2018/30/c7010.html

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