September 16, 2017 9:53 pm

Province apologizes for fish seizure at Metis camp near Conklin

Alberta Minister of Indigenous Relations Richard Feehan is sworn in as a new cabinet minister in Edmonton Alta, on Monday, February 2, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
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The province’s Indigenous Relations Minister has personally apologized to Metis Local 193 President Shirley Tremblay and Vice-President Ernie Deserlias following an incident last week.

The apology comes after Fish and Wildlife investigators received a call regarding an “illegal net” in Christina Lake near Conklin along with the presence of a camp.

When officers arrived on scene Friday, they didn’t find the net but did find a camp with about 30 Metis people.

The group was about to smoke about 25 whitefish.

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The fish were seized and two people were issued appearances notices for fishing without a licence.

“This was an unfortunate circumstance. I understand there may have been some issues with the licensing, but I think this situation could have been avoided. I commit that we will take steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” said Minister Feehan, who had visited the camp on Sept. 14.

“I had a great time at the camp and truly enjoyed meeting with the residents,” Feehan added. “These types of cultural experiences are very important in preserving Metis culture and I wouldn’t want to see that experience ruined.”

In a news release Saturday, the province said it would work with the community in the coming days to ensure members have the appropriate licences.

Feehan went on to say he’s reviewing the policy with the Justice Minister “in the spirit of ongoing reconciliation efforts.”

According to the Alberta Environment and Parks website, “a person who wishes to fish using a net must have a Metis Domestic Fishing licence. An individual’s eligibity for that licence must be established before the licence is issued.”

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