In a lawsuit filed July 13, 2021, the Paddle Prairie Métis Settlement is set to sue the Alberta government, the Metis General Council of Alberta (MSGC) and seven other settlements over a 17 million dollar dispute.
The dispute concerns ‘their’ share of the Long Term Agreement (signed in 2013) to the amount of 14.2 million, in addition to 3 million from the Future Fund. Although Paddle Prairie terminated its membership in the LTA in 2016 over a dispute with a tax and levy provision that would have targeted the Settlement's elderly and low-income households, it claims to remain "entitled to its proportionate share of LTA funds"
Paragraph 17 of the legal document notes that the Paddle Prairie Metis only discovered they had to tax (denoted as a ‘household contribution’) their members or not receive any monies from the LTA after the agreement was signed. Paddle also claims that 3 million from the Future Fund, derived from the Alberta-Métis settlements accord signed in 1989, has been unfulfilled.
In section 24, the document notes that in the fall of 2019, General Council promised the then Chairperson of Paddle, the late Greg Caillou, that MSGC would pay Paddle’s share of the Future Fund to Paddle. However, after Caillou's death, no funds were given. Paddle claims their share of the money is being unduly held in trust by MSGC.
Beyond this, the lawsuit also holds that the 2013 LTA is illegal, contradicting both UNDRIP and section 35 rights found in the Constitution. Both these documents permit indigenous people to control their sources of income and economic development, which the LTA does not. Paddle therefore has sought to pursue a court order that would bar the Alberta government and the MSGC from disbursing funds with the LTA and the Future Fund – on the basis of its unconstitutionality. Beyond this, Paddle seeks aforementioned damages that amount to over 17 million.
The Buffalo Tribune will be closely monitoring this story to provide future updates.