Archive for March, 2017

MNA President Poitras Applauds Precedent-Setting Federal Budget for Métis Nation

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Today, Métis Nation of Alberta (“MNA”) President Audrey Poitras commended Prime Minister Trudeau and his government for the Métis Nation specific commitments in the 2017 Federal Budget as well as for the Budget’s more inclusive approach to dealing with all Indigenous peoples.

“This type of explicit inclusion of the Métis Nation in a Federal Budget has been a long time coming for Alberta Métis. For far too long, our Métis governments have been relegated to being treated as mere program and service delivery organizations. This Budget is precedent-setting by finally making an express commitment to supporting Métis self-government and self-determination in the same way that First Nation and Inuit governments have been supported for generations,” said President Poitras.

Specifically, the Budget commits to investing “$84.9 million over the next five years, and $28.3 million per year ongoing, to build the governance capacity of the Métis National Council and its five provincial Governing Members [the MNA is the Métis National Council’s provincial Governing Member in Alberta]. This will lay the foundation for a new relationship with Métis Peoples and support collaborative work with the federal government on moving toward Métis self-government and self-determination. Funding will also support Métis identification registries and the review of existing programs and services.”

In addition, the 2017 Federal Budget provides opportunities for Métis Nation specific approaches and investments in the areas of housing, early childhood development, health, labour market training, the preservation of the Michif language as well as for the resolution of outstanding Métis claims against the federal Crown, which builds on the MNA’s recently signed Memorandum of Understanding on Advancing Reconciliation with the Government of Canada.

President Poitras added, “While we have much more work to do and additional investments are going to be needed to close the gap between Alberta Métis and other Albertans, today represents a monumental shift from historic Federal Budgets that have largely only focused on the needs of First Nations and Inuit. I want to thank the Prime Minister and his government for making this happen.”

“Today’s Federal Budget is an important step in making progress on implementing the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark decision in the Daniels v. Canada as well as advancing the recommendations in the report of Canada’s Ministerial Special Representative on Métis Section 35 Rights, which was issued in July 2016. The MNA looks forward to working with the Federal Government on implementing the commitments in the 2017 Federal Budget.”

Media Contact:
Sonia Millman, Executive Assistant to the President
Métis Nation of Alberta
Phone: 780-455-2200 ext. 281
Email: smillman@metis.org 

The Government of Alberta Launches the Indigenous Climate Leadership Survey and Request for Submissions

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The Government of Alberta has launched the Indigenous Climate Leadership Survey and Request for Written Submissions. Both the survey and submissions are to help give government direction on climate change programs for Indigenous communities and organizations.

To access the Indigenous Climate Leadership Survey, visit:
http://indigenous.alberta.ca/CL-Indigenous-Survey.cfm

To access the Request for Written Submission website and Guidebook, visit:
http://indigenous.alberta.ca/Submissions-Guidebook.cfm

The online survey is open to individual Indigenous Albertans 18 or older. Indigenous communities and organizations are also invited to provide submissions online. For information on the submission process, including discussion questions to help guide input, please read the Submission Guidebook. The survey and written submissions are part of the government’s engagement of Indigenous leadership, communities and individuals for input on the Alberta Climate Leadership Plan.

For any questions or comments regarding the submission or survey, please contact the Government of Alberta Indigenous Relations at IR.ClimateLeadership@gov.ab.ca.

For questions or concerns related to climate change or energy efficiency programs, please contact Andres Filella, Climate Change Consultant at the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA), at afilella@metis.org or at 780-455-2200 ext. 220.

Residential and Commercial Solar Program Announcement

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The Government of Alberta Announces Upcoming Residential and Commercial Solar Program

The Government of Alberta has announced a new Residential and Commercial Solar Program, which is expected to roll out as early as summer 2017. The program is expected to cut residential solar installation costs by up to 30 percent. Businesses and non-profits are expected to see an up to 25 percent reduction in solar installation costs. Eligibility criteria and details are to be released in the coming months.

For more information on this announcement, visit: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=463610A3269CE-0D2C-C140-6E391B3112A56664 (source)

For Energy Efficiency Alberta’s information page on this program, visit: https://www.efficiencyalberta.ca/solar/

For questions or concerns related to climate change or energy efficiency programs, please contact Andres Filella, Climate Change Consultant at the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA), at afilella@metis.org or at 780-455-2200 ext. 220.

MNA 4th Annual Business Mixer Seminar: Imagining the Future of Energy in Alberta

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Métis Nation of Alberta invites our members, friends, and industry partners to join us for an exciting seminar on the morning of our 4th Annual Provincial Business Mixer. The seminar will feature presentations by 3D Energy and Solaré.

Alberta is at a crossroads regarding the future of energy production and these two dynamic presenters will help illustrate the way forward. All are invited to take part in the seminar, however, due to limited seating, participants are asked to RSVP by March 20th.

 

Date: Thursday, March 23, 2017
Place: The Ramada Hotel and Conference Centre
11834 Kingsway Ave NW, Edmonton, AB
Time: 9 AM – 11:30 AM
RSVP to Katie Suvanto at ksuvanto@metis.org or 780-455-2200 ext. 235

 

3D ENERGY

Presentation: The value of energy efficiency assessments for businesses

Energy efficiency can be a hidden source of revenue through cost savings. This presentation will focus on the steps taken to conduct an energy efficiency assessment for a business. Specific examples of energy efficiency and renewable energy applications will be covered with a specific focus on their economic justification.

More about 3D Energy: 3D Energy is an engineering consulting firm with a specific focus on energy audits, modeling, and energy-code compliance. 3D Energy staff is made up of Professional Engineers, Certified Energy Managers, LEED experts, Certified Engineering Technologists, and a growing amount of energy engineers. Services offered include: Energy modeling, energy auditing, energy code compliance, green building certification, energy education and training, TAME+ funding, virtual design and construction, and AICEP/AISP funding programs. 3D has partnered with over 14 municipalities and counties, completing over 25 projects.  3D also has longstanding partnerships with Lakeland College, NAIT, and the University of Alberta. Recently, 3D Energy has begun energy audits with Fishing Lake Métis Settlement. 

 

 

SOLARÉ DISTRIBUTORS

Presentation: Making the Transition from Fossil Fuels to Renewables.

Solaré was a venture born out of the ashes of an oilfield company sale in  2013, when Brothers Rik and Jay Kaminsky, still wanting to be involved in the energy industry, turned their focus on renewable energy in the form of Solar PV. With the addition of other opportunities in LED lighting technologies, energy bill auditing, and energy retailing, Solaré became much more than a solar company in a very short time. This presentation will focus on the transition of this former oil and gas business into a business based on opportunities in solar PV and energy efficiency. 

More about Solaré: Located in Spruce Grove, and servicing Western Canada, Solaré Distributors is a distributor of LED lighting and solar PV equipment. Solaré effectively reduces high energy costs by fixing power bills by performing power bill audits, changing out your inefficient lighting with LED Lighting, and adding solar PV Solutions to harness free energy. Solaré is currently working with several First Nations and Métis Settlements for both energy Audits and community solar projects.  

 

 

 

Residential No-Charge Energy Savings Program Registrations

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Energy Efficiency Alberta opens registrations for free install of energy efficient products in Alberta households

Energy Efficiency Alberta has announced that registrations are now open for its Residential No-Charge Energy Savings Program. All Alberta households are eligible to register. The program will provide free installation of energy efficient products, including:

  • LED products to replace existing incandescent nightlights, light bulbs and exit signs
  • High-efficiency shower heads
  • Faucet aerators if no aerator is present
  • Advanced power bars
  • Smart (self-adjusting) thermostat to replace non-programmable thermostats

Registrations will be followed by a phone call to schedule a visit to the household, and to complete the installation of the equipment. Installations will begin in early April 2017.

For more information of this announcement, visit: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=463703B3DFEE3-92E3-23B1-E1D239BB3D838281 (source)

To register for the Residential No-Charge Energy Savings Program, visit: https://www.efficiencyalberta.ca/residential-no-charge/

For more information on Energy Efficiency Alberta and Energy Efficiency Programs, visit: https://www.efficiencyalberta.ca/

For questions or concerns related to climate change or energy efficiency programs, please contact Andres Filella, Climate Change Consultant at the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA), at afilella@metis.org or at 780-455-2200 ext. 220.

Métis Crossing Wins Entrepreneurship Challenge Award

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Métis Crossing—the Métis heritage site near Smoky Lake owned and operated by Métis Nation of Alberta—recently won an award for their entrepreneurial spirit. The award was granted by the Growing Rural Tourism Conference on February 14, 2017. The $6,000 dollar award will go toward funding the Métis Crossing Voyageur Experience Program in which travelers can experience the life of a Métis voyageur during the 19th century fur trade era. The experience will be made possible through strategic partnerships with Haskin Canoes and Victoria Settlement. 

Participants involved in the experience will be offered comfort camping, spending the nights under starry skies in an authentic Métis trapper’s tent. Home-cooked meals consisting of bannock, berries, and other ingredients procured from the land will be provided for breakfast and lunch. A traditional fish fry with all the fixings will be served for dinner. In the morning, partakers will visit a Métis trap line and learn about living off the land, including making and tasting locally foraged teas. Participants will additionally explore the river valley to learn about local wildlife and medicinal plants and trees. In the afternoon, participants will undertake a canoe voyage to Fort Victoria to experience life at the early Settlement when it was founded in 1860 and learn about commerce and trade during the mid-1800s fur trade era. The experience will conclude with a return trip to Métis Crossing where participants will partake in Métis jigging lessons and learn the famous Métis dance number, The Red River Jig.

A pilot run of the camp takes place on May 24, 2017. On this day, a group of approximately 40 educators will visit Métis Crossing to experience life as a Métis voyageur in 19th century Alberta. The project is currently in the preliminary stages, however, MNA will be providing further details about how to get involved going into the future.    

 

MNA President Audrey Poitras Recognized for Outstanding Leadership

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This year, Alberta Chamber of Resources (ACR) selected Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) President Audrey Poitras as the Indigenous Leader of the Year. The award is designed to honour indigenous leaders dedicated to advancing the cause of their people while building bridges with the resource sector. At this year’s Alberta Chamber of Resources banquet, held on February 3, 2017, President Poitras’ lifelong dedication to Métis causes was recognized. Regarding the award, President Poitras commented, “with all the important work First Nation and Métis leaders are doing throughout the province to support their communities, I am truly honoured to be chosen as Alberta Chamber of Resources’ indigenous leader of the year.”

As the longest serving President of MNA, Audrey Poitras was first elected to leadership in 1996. For over two decades, President Poitras has been a passionate advocate for Métis rights and programs. Her leadership choice to emphasize the importance of rights and education has aided the growth of Métis communities throughout the province. Along with key stakeholders, President Poitras has negotiated partnerships with colleges and universities, ensuring Métis Endowment funds of 22 million to date. Over her time as MNA President, she has facilitated the creation of MNA’s Rupertsland Institute, Métis Centre of Excellence, which promotes education, training, and research. These programs have enriched the lives of countless Métis people across Alberta.

With the help of the recent Supreme Court of Canada’s Daniels Decision, President Poitras continues to negotiate landmark political agreements. Earlier this year, President Poitras negotiated the first ever Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Canada and the most comprehensive Provincial Framework Agreement in MNA history. With these federal and provincial agreements, President Poitras has additionally participated in promising discussions with governments about Métis harvesting rights and a Métis Nation Health Clinic.

As an ardent supporter of Métis culture, history, and language, President Poitras played a critical role in the development of Métis Crossing, a multi-million dollar cultural interpretive site, atop the banks of the North Saskatchewan River near Smoky Lake, Alberta. Following a funding pledge from the Federal Government in 2016, Métis Crossing is poised to become Alberta’s premiere Métis cultural centre.

Throughout her leadership, President Poitras has been honoured with numerous awards and recognitions, including receiving the National Indigenous Achievement Award, being named in CBC’s The Alberta 100, and Alberta’s 50 most influential people by Alberta Venture magazine in 2005.

Memorandum re: Summaries on Recent Court Cases on Métis Consultation

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Today, MNA President Audrey Poitras released a memorandum pertaining to recent Alberta court cases on Métis consultation. Please scroll down to read more about these cases. PDF summary documents were provided by MNA legal counsel, Pape Salter Teillet. To download the documents, please click the below links. 

File Downloads:

 

Memorandum 

TO: All MNA Members
FROM: Audrey Poitras, MNA President
DATE: March 7, 2017
RE: Summaries on Recent Court Cases on Métis Consultation

In December 2016, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench released two decisions dealing with Métis consultation issues. As we have always done when important cases dealing with Métis rights are released by the courts, the MNA asked its legal counsel to prepare summaries on these two cases to share with members. These two summaries are attached to this memo and are also available on the MNA website at: www.albertametis.com.

It is important to note that neither the MNA or MNA Region 1 were involved in these two court cases. These cases were solely advanced by the Fort Chipewyan and Fort McMurray Locals. In particular, in the Fort Chipewyan case, the Local advanced an argument that it was a rights-bearing Métis community and that it was owed Crown consultation. As outlined in the attached summary, the court rejected those arguments based on the facts in that case.

Overall, these two court cases re-affirm the need for the MNA, its Regions and its Locals to work—together—to ensure our collectively-held Métis rights are respected and protected throughout Alberta. It is very clear from the court’s decision that all three levels of Métis government must arrive at a mutually agreeable way forward to effectively deal with Crown-Métis consultation issues. MNA Locals cannot do it alone, any more than one Regional Council or the Provincial Council could unilaterally dictate or impose an approach.

Simply put, we must work—together—to develop and implement consensus-based solutions or we run the risk of governments using our internal divisions against us as a way to continue to deny rights-based Métis consultation in Alberta. With that said, I believe we are well placed to make consensus-based progress over the next few months in implementing our Statement of Principles for Métis Consultation and Accommodation, which were adopted by the 2016 MNA Annual General Assembly. In the interim, I wanted to provide these case summaries, which will need to inform our strategies and approaches going forward.

If you have any questions about the attached summaries or would like more information on the status of the MNA’s ongoing work in relation to consultation issues as well as our discussions with Alberta, please contact the MNA’s Co- Ministers for Métis Rights (Karen Collins or Bev New) or Bruce Gladue, the MNA’s Director of Sustainable Development and Industry Relations, through the MNA Head Office in Edmonton.

I am optimistic that—together—we will be able to make progress on this important Métis rights-related work over the next few months!

 

MNA President Pleased about Federal Funding for Fort Edmonton Indigenous Peoples Experience

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Today, Métis Nation of Alberta President (MNA), Audrey Poitras, and dignitaries from all levels of government joined the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, for an important announcement regarding federal funding that will expand the historical living museum, Fort Edmonton Park. Participating dignitaries included the Honourable Brian Mason, Minister of Infrastructure; His Worship Don Iveson, Mayor of the City of Edmonton; Lyndon Decore, Chair of the Fort Edmonton Foundation; Bill Demchuk, Executive Director of the Fort Edmonton Management Company; and Chief Billy Morin, Chief of Enoch Cree Nation.

The Government of Canada pledged up to $47,794,500 for the expansion of Fort Edmonton Park, which includes the Indigenous Peoples Experience. Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, states that the “funding will support Fort Edmonton Park in celebrating this city—and Canada’s—diverse heritage and creativity, including the experiences of local First Nations and Métis people.” Métis people have a rich heritage in the Edmonton region and have played a significant role in the development of the city as intrepid entrepreneurs, fur traders, merchants, craftsman, voyageurs, and diplomatic intermediaries. The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) is optimistic that the increased funding for the program will help showcase the distinct Métis culture.

MNA President Audrey Poitras said, “in the past few years, Métis Nation of Alberta has been greatly encouraged by the efforts of Fort Edmonton and the City of Edmonton in ensuring the gaps in their representations of Métis history is filled with accurate and comprehensive information. With this new commitment from the federal government, I am positive that the park will become a very important site in facilitating understanding about Métis culture and the history of Fort Edmonton.”

The Fort Edmonton Park expansion has a total estimated cost of $165,353,500. In addition to federal funding, the park expansion is being financially bolstered by the Government of Alberta, City of Edmonton, and Fort Edmonton Foundation. On behalf of the Provincial government, The Honourable Brian Mason states “The Alberta government is proud to support this project, which will honour our past and entertain and educate generations to come.” His Worship Don Iveson feels that the strong commitment from leadership across governments will “allow [Edmonton] to move a project forward that honours Edmonton’s past, present, and future, including our journey in reconciliation.”

The project will focus on three key sections of the park: an expansion of the Indigenous Peoples Experience, encompassing a new facility to showcase the First Nations and Métis Nation cultural heritage, along with camps, trails, classrooms, and an outdoor amphitheater. The 1920’s Johnny J Jones Midway will add several new attractions including a roller coaster, a maze and a revue theatre. Finally, a new front admission area will allow for improved visitor services and shopping opportunities. Construction is anticipated to begin in fall 2017 with completion by 2020. Executive Director of the Fort Edmonton Management Company, Bill Demchuk, is very pleased with the funding, asserting “With the generous support of the federal government, as well as the Province and the City, we are thrilled to be able to enrich the visitor experience at Fort Edmonton Park and continue to celebrate our shared past.”

Media Contact:
Sonia Millman, Executive Assistant to the MNA President
Phone: 780-455-2200 ext. 281
Email: smillman@metis.org