Yellowknife (April 15, 2016) – Premier Bob McLeod issued the following statement on the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling extending rights to Métis and non-status Indians:
“Today’s Supreme Court decision is an important one, and will have implications for Métis and non-status Indians throughout Canada. The Government of the Northwest Territories, like all jurisdictions, will need time to review this decision more closely to gain a better understanding of the potential implications for the Northwest Territories.
“However, I believe that today in the Northwest Territories, Métis are treated differently than Métis elsewhere in Canada. The GNWT has a long history of recognizing and respecting the rights of all Aboriginal people in the NWT – this includes the Métis, Dene and Inuvialuit.
“Completed land claim agreements in the NWT, such as the Sahtu Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement, include Métis and we are currently engaged in Aboriginal rights negotiations, like the Dehcho Process, that include the Métis.
“The GNWT, along with Canada, are also engaged in Final Agreement negotiations with the Northwest Territory Métis Nation towards completing a land, resources and self-government agreement in the South Slave. I understand that this type of negotiations with a Métis Aboriginal party is unique in Canada.
“The 18th Legislative Assembly identified collaborating and fostering government-to-government relationships with Aboriginal governments in the NWT as a priority and we continue to regularly meet with leaders from all Aboriginal governments, including the Northwest Territory Métis Nation.
“The Memorandum of Understanding that we signed with the Northwest Territory Métis Nation in 2012 is a tangible example of the work we are doing to strengthen our relationship with the Métis. Within this MOU, we set out our shared interests around better communication, meeting and information sharing. These efforts assist the GNWT and the Northwest Territory Métis Nation to be better positioned to advance our respective and shared priorities, serving the interests of all NWT residents.”