Thursday, April 13, 2017 was a historic day for Métis rights in Canada. Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) President Audrey Poitras and other Members of the Métis National Council Board of Governors joined Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and key members of his cabinet in Ottawa for the inaugural meeting of the Crown-Métis Nation Summit. At the meeting, both parties signed a groundbreaking accord, Canada- Métis Nation Accord, which establishes important mandates to foster the nation-to-nation, government-to-government relationship between Canada and the Métis Nation. An important mandate of the Accord is increased meetings with policy makers, including annual meetings with the Prime Minister, semi-annual meetings with the Minister of Indigenous Affairs (and key Cabinet Ministers), and quarterly meetings with various Assistant Deputy Ministers on issues of concern to the Métis Nation.
The Accord was signed by Métis National Council (MNC) President Clément Chartier, and each of the Governing Members, including President Poitras. President Poitras is excited to start a new relationship with the federal government based on respect and recognition, stating:
The Accord is another important milestone for Métis rights; I am highly encouraged to see the steps the federal government is taking under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. With the unprecedented access to policy makers that the Accord ensures, I am confident my fellow Métis leaders and myself will seek positive outcomes for Métis people of Alberta in significant and lasting ways.
In reference to the Accord, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated:
Last December, I made the promise that federal ministers and Métis Nation leaders would work together to solve important challenges. We did not take that commitment lightly. Today, we are proud to announce our joint signing of the Canada-Métis Nation Accord. While there is still much that needs to be done if we are to address the unique social, cultural, economic, and environmental issues faced by the Métis, we now have a solid foundation upon which to move forward with a respectful, renewed Métis Nation-Crown relationship, for the benefit of all Canadians.
The federal government was represented by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and key members of his cabinet, including Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould; President of the Treasury Board, Scott Brison; Minister of Health, Jane Philpot; Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Patricia Hajdu; and Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Jean-Yves Duclos.