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Metis Rights Notes

Law Notes > Aboriginal Law Notes

This is an extract of our Metis Rights document, which we sell as part of our Aboriginal Law Notes collection written by the top tier of University Of Victoria; University Of Toronto students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Aboriginal Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Metis Rights Origins of Rights (Sparrow)
- basis for s. 35(1) rights do not come from the constitution; they existed prior to CA 1982; existed pre contact
- rights exist because they come from aboriginal law, governance, practices and traditions
- rights were independent and existing and did not depend on the recognition of them by Canadian authorities (Calder, Cote, Adams, VDP)
- they exist in Canadian law not because of governmental recognition but because they were not extinguished or conquered
- part of common law and constitutional law
- rights were affirmed through the original treaty process Scope, Nature of Rights (Sparrow)
- Metis people are distinct, re culture, history, language- their inclusion in s. 35 is not traceable to pre-contact occupation; thus is distinct from FN, Inuit righhtas (Powley)
- aboriginal rights cover a spectrum of rights from practices, traditions and customs, integral to the distinctive cultures of aboriginal peoples to activities that must take place on the land which confer to the land itself (title), or rights that fall on a spectrum with respect to their degree of connection to the land (VDP)
- are sui generis
- scope and content not determined by govt reg
- govt can regulate s. 35 rights but regulation must meet s. 35 standards for infringement
- not subject to s. 1 of the CH, but not absolute, must be read w federal powers
- can be freestanding or site specific
- "existing" means unextinguished: constitutionalization does not revive extinguished rights Interpretative Approach to s. 35 (Sparrow)
- rights are not frozen: must be interpreted as an evolving, adapting to new contexts
- the court must take a purposive, liberal approach to ensure rights claims are not static: must look at the analysis in light of the underlying reasons behind se. 35(1) rights protections: recognition of prior occupancy and reconciliation bw aboriginal peoples living in distinctive societies, with their own practices, traditions and cultures, and the sovereignty of the crown (VDP)
- hence there is a generous and liberal interpretation in favour of aboriginal peoples
- this stems from the fiduciary relationship between aboriginal people and the crown
- takes into account the aboriginal perspective to determine the meaning of the right at stake
- CRITIQUES of espoused commitment to incorporating FN rights: o This is limited as the perspective must be framed in terms that are cognizable to the Canadian legal and constitutional structure which

such is the decision in Marshall and Bernard, are not serving reconciliation very well o There is a question on how it is to be cognizable to the Canadian system of common law, especially if common law can change and be fluid and dynamic, and is supposed to include 'customary' law o True reconciliation is supposed to align the two systems together, so fitting one into the other is not reconciling o Macklem and Ash: cts relying on an contingent as opposed to inherent approach to rights, e.g. in Sparrow Test

1. Requirements of Establishing the Right (onus: Metis) (Powley, modifying VDP)
-test to identify whether an applicant has established a right protected by s. 35(1) (Sparrow):
-i. unextinguished (see below)
-ii. consistently exercised
-iii. the activity must be an element of a practice, custom or tradition integral to the distinctive culture of the aboriginal group claiming the right
-VDP: -Lamer:
-M included in s. 35 but distinct origins suggests their rights under this section may be different- unclear if VDP test will apply- needs to be addressed by M claimant, on case by case basis
-LHD:
-pre-contact test cannot serve as limiting factor to access rights, contradictory to M history and as M are included in s. 35- thus case by case basis cannot apply
-Powley: VDP test applies but is modified to reflect distinct M identity- shift from pre- contact to time period prior to Euro control

-10 guidelines for defining "integral to distinctive culture:" (Powley, modifying VDP)

1. perspective of FN must be given = weight to CL:
-in order to reconcile sovereignty w prior occupation
-lt: FN perspective or law must be cognizable

2. precise nature of the right must be identified:
-significance of the practice must be delineated (VDP)
-3 factors: (VDP) i. nature of the action, as described by the claimant ii. nature of the legislation or governmental action alleged to infringe the right, either via purpose or in effect iii. the ancestral tradition or practice relied upon to establish the right
-link FN rights, are context and site specific

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