POT HOPE –
A Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry official said the question of whether First Nation anglers can fish in a fish sanctuary is difficult to answer.
After being shown a picture of several men fishing by Corbett’s dam on Tuesday, men who later produced status cards, Staff Sergeant Victor Miller from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said the answer is complicated.
“It depends on traditional or treaty rights, and it depends on the communities involved,” Miller said.
“If there are other First Nation communities fishing in those areas, whether the communities have given permission within their communities — it’s quite complicated.
“It not only comes down to traditional and treaty opportunities, but it’s also under the umbrella of (how) the Charter applies to a First Nation person.”
The five men had visited Trenton and were on their way back to Six Nations by Brantford, when they stopped at Port Hope and fished for a few hours.
Police were called to the sanctuary, but the men all produced status cards.
“So if you look at Canada’s history and the transient movement of First Nation people, you have to take all that into account,” Miller said.
“So for me to answer yes or no, I have to go to a committee within the Province of Ontario that involves Aboriginal policy, Aboriginal negotiators, and then I have to speak with the chiefs and councils of communities.
“So that’s how complicated that question is.”
Alderville First Nation Chief Jim Bob Marsden was out of the area and not available for comment.
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