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Courts dismiss Fort McKay Métis lawsuit against MNA

PHOTO. Fort McKay Métis President Ron Quintal stands outside the Fort McMurray Provinical Court House on April 8, 2019. Melanie Walsh. MORNING NEWS ANCHOR. Melanie Walsh

The Court of Queen’s Bench dismissed a lawsuit from the Fort McKay Métis against the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA).

The Fort McKay Métis asked the court to declare it the sole representative of the Métis people in Fort McKay.

However, Justice Gates ruled he would dismiss the lawsuit entirely.

“The issues [raised by the MNA] are not mere weaknesses in the Local Associations’ case. They are obstacles, which are plainly and obviously insurmountable.”

MNA President Audrey Poitras said the lawsuit is a hopeless claim and agreed with the court’s decision.

“It affirms that the MNA continues to represent our citizens in relation to consultation with the Crown and industry in the Fort McKay area. We will continue to fight to make sure the voices of MNA citizens and communities across the province are heard through democratic governance structures, not ones controlled by a few individuals with no accountability to the Métis Nation.”

The MNA also reaffirmed its mandate within Canada, signing the Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement in June 2019.

Ron Quintal, President of the Fort McKay Métis, said the MNA has no interest in the local Métis in northern communities.

He said the MNA “interjected” seeking consultation funding in negotiations with industry.

“Our message to industry, businesses, and other northern communities is this: the best way to facilitate the success of your business goals is to deal directly with the duly elected leadership of respective communities.”

Quintal recalled an Alberta Court of Appeal ruling from Boucher v MNA in Jan. 2009.

According to that decision, the courts ruled the MNA is not the government of Métis communities in Alberta.

MNA Vice-President, Dan Cardinal said “self-styled Métis community associations” cannot diminish the rights and interests of MNA citizens or communities.

“We will now work to make sure the current provincial government and industry no longer allow benefits that should go to Métis citizens and communities to go to these unaccountable groups.”

However, Quintal said the MNA has no membership in Fort McKay, and theirs is a “money grab”.

“Our message to our northern Métis brothers and sisters is to take control of your self-determination and futures.  Elect your community leadership, tear up your MNA cards and mail them back.  The Fort McKay Métis are working hard to secure a more democratic and prosperous future for northern Métis people.  Our future belongs to us, not the discredited MNA.”

Fort McKay Métis the said they would appeal directly to the Crown.