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Metis self-governance bill would help right wrongs, minister says amid controversy

Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations is seen in a portrait in Ottawa, on Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby) Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations is seen in a portrait in Ottawa, on Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby)
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OTTAWA -

The Liberal minister of Crown-Indigenous relations is defending a bill that would formalize several Metis self-governance agreements, after more than a month of heated debate between Indigenous leaders at a parliamentary committee.

Crown-Indigenous Relation Minister Gary Anandasangaree says Metis have been fighting for their rights for centuries, and a Liberal government bill aims to right the wrongs of the past.

He told a committee studying Bill C-53 today that the legislation is in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The leaders of Metis groups in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario say the legislation would unlock new opportunities and foster a new relationship with Ottawa.

But prominent First Nations voices are raising concerns about irreparable damage to their own treaty rights.

The minister says Metis have had to listen to people who are trying to deny their existence, and he believes the concerns that have been raised in the committee are based on misconceptions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2023.

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