Event underlines renewed Aboriginal strategy

Posted: 11/24/2014

Gary Lipinski, Métis Nation Ontario president, welcomes guests to Louis Riel Day event.

Gary Lipinski, Métis Nation Ontario president, welcomes guests to Louis Riel Day event.

Treasurer Janet E. Minor last week welcomed more than 125 guests to Osgoode Hall for a panel discussion that considered the impact of recent High Court decisions on Métis people in Canada.

The event, which also honoured 19th century Métis leader Louis Riel, was held in partnership with the Métis Nation of Ontario.

See video of panel discussion here.

The Law Society’s participation underlines its commitment to a renewed Aboriginal initiatives strategy, which included a June roundtable with 19 Aboriginal lawyers and paralegals.

“Our renewal process will focus on consciously learning to understand the spirit of the times of the Aboriginal community,” Treasurer Minor said.

“We are only beginning this renewal process, so we have much to learn.”

Bound by statute, the Law Society is mandated to facilitate access to justice for Ontarians. Since 2012, through The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG), the Law Society has increasingly focused on what it means to do so.

“We have learned that access to justice means different things to the different people and groups of the Ontario public,” Treasurer Minor said.

Following the Treasurer’s remarks, Law Society executive director of Policy, Equity and Public Affairs, Grant Wedge, moderated a discussion between lawyers Jean Teillet, Jason Madden and Andrew Lokan.

The panel explored how recent Supreme Court decisions will further define the concept and parameters of Aboriginal title and — in the case of Daniels v. Canada — Aboriginal identity.

“Today’s event signals continuing outreach on Métis issues,” Wedge said.

At a reception afterward, Gary Lipinski, president of the Métis Nation of Ontario, thanked guests for attending and introduced Nicholas and Conlin Delbaere-Sawchuk, of the Métis Fiddler Quartet. They performed a selection from Songs of the Métis: An Ode to Louis Riel, combining both historic and original songs with storytelling.