Charlottetown Accord and Metis Nation Accord
The Canadian constitution of 1982 has not gone farther than the simple recognition of existing Aboriginal and treaty rights. The defeat of the Charlottetown constitutionalaccord in the 1992 referendum took down with it a side deal, the Metis Nation Accord, bywhich Ottawa had agreed to be the primary agent in negotiating self-government with theMetis. As matters stand now, Ottawa has reverted to its original position that the Metis,as ordinary citizens, are a provincial responsibility.The Metis Nation Accord defined Metis as follows:(a) Metis means an Aboriginal person who self-identifies as Metis, who is distinctfrom Indian and Inuit and is a descendant of those Metis who received or wereentitled to receive land grants and/or scrip under the provisions of the
Manitoba Act, 1870
Dominion Lands Acts
, as enacted from time to time.
(b) “Metis Nation” means the community of Metis persons in subsection a) and persons of Aboriginal descent who are accepted by that community.The full text of the proposed Metis Nation Accord, dated October 7, 1992 can be read in
Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples
, Volume 4, Appendix 5D at pp.376-382 (Ottawa: Canada Communication Group Publishing, 1996.)Metis Nation Accord (*)The federal government, the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta,British Columbia and Metis National Council have agreed to enter into a legally binding, justiciable and enforceable accord on Metis Nation issues. Technical drafting of theaccord is being completed. The Accord sets out the obligations of the federal and provincial governments and the Metis Nation.The Accord commits governments to negotiate: self-government agreements; lands andresources; the transfer of the portion of Aboriginal programs and services available toMetis; and cost sharing arrangements relating to Metis institutions, programs andservices.Provinces and the federal government agree not to reduce existing expenditures on Metisand other Aboriginal people as a result of the Accord or as a result of an amendment toSection 91(24). The Accord defines the Metis for the purpose of the Metis Nation Accordand commits governments to enumerate and register the Metis Nation.
In hindsight this is a quite restricted definition and not in line with the recommendations put forward bythe Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Additionally the framers have excluded many Metis withthis definition because the provisions for being eligible to receive scrip had date certain times for residency.Thus many Metis born in the Old North West were not eligible either because they were living in theUnited States on those dates or had subsequently moved to Ontario or Quebec when their parents retired tothose locales after leaving employment in the fur trade.