Court decision on Metis and non-treaty Indians could be costly

Louis Riel, represented by this statue on the Manitboa Legislature grounds. (JASON HALSTEAD/ QMI...

Louis Riel, represented by this statue on the Manitboa Legislature grounds. (JASON HALSTEAD/ QMI AGENCY)

Jessica Hume, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 6:36 PM ET

If the Federal Court decision on Metis and non-treaty Indian rights is upheld on appeal, it will almost double the population of "Indians" in Canada as defined under the Constitution Act, and have significant implications for taxpayers.

Judge Michael Phelan ruled Tuesday in favour of extending the same health and education benefits, as well as negotiating rights over land claims, currently enjoyed by First Nations to Metis and non-treaty Indians.

Despite the near-certainty of an appeal, concerns are rising over the potential cost of health and education benefits associated with a population that will more than double if the 600,000 Metis and non-status Indians are added to the 850,000 people currently considered "Indian" under the act.


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