The future is looking bright for the Métis Nation! On December 15th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made some groundbreaking declarations during a meeting with Indigenous leadership from across the nation. The meeting is the second time the Federal Government has met with Indigenous leaders in the past two weeks—the first meeting being a forum on growth and climate change hosted in Ottawa on December 9th.
The meeting was attended by many Federal Government officials, including Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett. Also in attendance were leaders from the Métis National Council (MNC) Board of Governors, including MNC Vice-President David Chartrand, Métis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras, Métis Nation of Ontario President Margaret Froh, and Métis Nation British Columbia President Clara Morin Dal Col.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister made three announcements with regard to advancing reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation. In a statement released on December 15, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced:
First, we will create permanent bilateral mechanisms with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the four Inuit Nunangat Regions, and the Métis National Council and its governing members. In this Kelowna-like process, every year, we will meet to develop policy on shared priorities, and monitor our progress going forward. Similar meetings with key Cabinet Ministers will take place at least twice each year. Second, we will establish an Interim Board of Directors to make recommendations on the creation of a National Council for Reconciliation. The Interim Board will begin an engagement process to develop recommendations on the scope and mandate of the National Council. Third, we will provide $10 million to support the important work of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation located at the University of Manitoba, as recommended in Call to Action 78. This contribution will help to ensure that the history and legacy of Canada’s residential school system is remembered.1
MNA President Audrey Poitras fully supports the push toward reconciliation. “For too long, Métis people have been on the outside looking in,” said President Poitras, “this announcement bodes well for the inclusion of Métis in an important political arena where key decisions are made. We are very pleased to witness such commitment from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Federal Government. I am optimistic that these promises will open new doors for the Métis Nation of Alberta as we move closer toward the ultimate goal of advancing Section 35 Métis rights, reconciliation, and establishing a new relationship with Canada.”
Métis Nation of Alberta
- Trudeau, Justin “Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.” 15 December 2016, http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2016/12/15/statement-prime-minister-canada-advancing-reconciliation-indigenous-peoples