Today’s historic ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada recognizes Metis and non-status Aboriginals as being under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government, as per the Constitution Act of 1867.
However, Vice President for this region of the Alberta Metis Nation, Duane Zaraska is managing expectations today. The ruling will not have any immediate impact for the nearly 600,000 Metis and Aboriginal people not associated with a reserve in Canada. However, it does give them the ability to go to the bargaining table.
“This is a great step for us,” Zaraska says but adds “Nothing’s going to happen overnight. We’re still waiting for direction ourselves on how this will affect us all. It’s just too early. It’s just one step. It just gives us the ability to negotiate with the federal government and negotiate those terms.”
The court’s ruling says the previous status (or lack thereof,) of Metis and non-status natives left them in a “jurisdictional wasteland with significant and obvious disadvantaging consequences,” resulting in lower funding for programs and significantly lower outcomes in their communities.