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Current Affairs

Métis Nation of Alberta begins province-wide consultation on self-government Constitution

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Edmonton, Alberta – February 17, 2021 – The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) is consulting with its citizens on a draft Constitution that will modernize its approach to self-government. Following the signing of the historic Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement (MGRSA) in June 2019 with the Government of Canada, MNA embarked on a process leading to formal federal recognition of Métis Nation self-government in Alberta, including the creation of a Constitution. The MNA established a Constitution Commission to prepare a draft Constitution based on feedback from Métis citizens from consultations in 2018 leading up to the MGRSA.

“The next step on our path to federally recognized self-determination is to consult with our citizens on the draft Constitution prepared by the Commission,” said MNA President Audrey Poitras. “Fitting with Métis tradition, we will listen and answer questions and use this feedback to ensure we choose a path forward that best meets the needs of Métis citizens in Alberta.”

Métis self-determination is necessary because, for generations, educational outcomes, employment prospects, and health indicators of Métis in Alberta have fallen shamefully short of those of non-Indigenous Canadians. Métis citizens face systemic disadvantages rooted in colonialism, racism, and indifference. Only a Métis government, recognized on a nation-to-nation, government-to-government level, will be able to adequately respond to the unique needs and ambitions of its citizens.

The Commission is holding a series of roundtables throughout February with existing MNA structures including, MNA Provincial Council, Elders and Knowledge Keepers, youth, women and community members from each of the six MNA regions. Following this input, the Commission will hold public hearings open to all MNA citizens in communities across Alberta, with proper notice being given to ensure a broad consultation.

All consultations will follow public health guidelines to ensure the safety of all participants.

Once all feedback is considered, the MNA will hold an assembly for citizens to review a final draft of the Constitution. If approved, the MNA will hold a province-wide ratification process that will respect Métis customs, practices and traditions.

“Adopting our own Constitution is the realization of the dream that Louis Riel fought and died for,” said Poitras. “His vision of Métis self-government has finally been formally recognized by the Government of Canada, and our Constitution will be the framework for our self-determination. This is a historic moment for all Métis citizens.”

About the MNA

Established in 1928, the MNA promotes and facilitates the advancement of Métis people in Alberta through self-reliance, self-determination and self-management. The MNA is governed by a Provincial Council, comprised of a Provincial President and Vice President and six regional Presidents and Vice Presidents, all democratically elected. In June 2019, the Métis Nation of Alberta and the Government of Canada signed the MNA-Canada Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement.

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For more information:

Amy Dillon

adillon@metis.org

Remembering George Quintal

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Loss of a former Métis Nation of Alberta Provincial Council Member, President of MNA Region 1 and Champion of the Métis Community: George Quintal

The Métis Nation of Alberta was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of George Quintal on January 25t, 2021. George was a champion for Métis rights and a valued member of the Métis community.

Among his many accomplishments, George was an active member of the Métis Nation, he sat as director for many years in the Region, and was elected in 1999, as President of MNA Region 1, until 2005.  George will be remembered for his service to the Nation, his sense of humor and infectious laugh, but most of all, as a man who cared for his people.  He leaves behind a legacy of hope, culture, and true Métis pride.

“On behalf of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Provincial Council, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to George’s family and friends.” – MNA President Audrey Poitras

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 30th, 2021 at 11:00 AM at the Mission View Funeral Chapel (133 Sentinel Dr, Lac la Biche, AB T0A 2C0). Public Viewing, Mission View Funeral Chapel, Friday, January 29, 2021 from 6:00 p. m. to 8:00 p. m. COVID-19 capacity restrictions will be followed.

A private family service will be held by invitation only due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Bail denied for defendants in Jake Sansom and Maurice Cardinal case

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November 27, 2020 (Edmonton) – As one of the founding peoples of Alberta, the Métis must always be vigilant. We work together as a community to always protect our citizens, values, interests and culture to ensure we can safely pass these on to our children and grandchildren.

It is a good day for the Métis and Indigenous residents of Alberta. We learned that the Court of Appeal made the right decision to protect us when they denied bail to the two persons charged with murdering two of our Métis harvesters. This gives us hope for reconciliation and shows the respect Métis deserve as equal founders of our great province. 

The family of Jake Sansom and Maurice Cardinal are thankful for the decision, it is a great relief. They would like to thank all that have supported the family. This includes the Crown, RCMP, and a big thank you to the Metis Nation of Alberta for being there for the entire family.

In Memory of Cliff Supernault

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It is with utmost sadness the family of Clifford Supernault of Stony Plain, Alberta announced his passing on October 13, 2020 at 76 years old. Cliff will be greatly missed by many and may his memory live on forever. Cliff was a proud member of the Métis Nation of Alberta and very dedicated to his community. 

He was an active participant in advancing the Nation and was always supporting friends, family, MNA staff, and anyone else he could. Cliff will be remembered by many as a kind and generous man dedicated to his family and his community. 

Our deepest condolences to his family. You are in our thoughts. 

Cliff was predeceased by his loving wife of 48 years: Esther Supernault, and his parents:  Jonas and Margaret.

A small Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 pm, Friday, October 23, 2020 at Connelly-McKinley, St. Albert Funeral Home. To view the service live please visit connelly-mckinley.com, the service will also be available online to view at a later date.

Métis Leaders in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan Address Racism in Healthcare

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[OTTAWA, ONTARIO, October 19, 2020] Leaders from the Métis Nation of Ontario, Métis Nation – Saskatchewan and the Métis Nation of Alberta joined other Métis, First Nations and Inuit leaders from across the country on a video call held October 16th hosted by Ministers Miller and Bennett. The session focused on a national action plan to address systemic racism experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada’s health care systems, following the horrifying public footage of the racism Joyce Echaquan experienced moments before her untimely death.

The Presidents of the Métis Nation of Ontario, The Métis Nation – Saskatchewan and the Métis Nation of Alberta express their deepest condolences to the family of Joyce Echaquan. Sadly, Métis, First Nations and Inuit people across the country have long documented systemic racism in our healthcare systems. These injustices continue to deter Indigenous peoples from accessing healthcare services, which results in overall poorer health outcomes and avoidable deaths for Indigenous peoples across Canada.

Systemic problems require systemic solutions. While broad representation from multiple orders of government and health care organizations at this meeting is heartening, it is only one step. We need a sustained effort to affect systemic change. Unequal access to healthcare calls for an immediate plan of action.

These actions must include mandatory cultural safety training for medical professionals, and the inclusion of Métis, First Nations and Inuit partners at every stage of the decision-making process in order to address the health needs and priorities of Indigenous peoples. Increasing respect, recognition and a genuine understanding of Métis people among mainstream health care providers is critical in order to bring about change improving health outcomes.

The Presidents of the Métis Nation of Ontario, The Métis Nation–Saskatchewan and the Métis Nation of Alberta will continue to work with federal Ministers Miller, Bennett and Hajdu, and the respective provincial governments to move this forward on behalf of their respective citizens.

Justice for Jake and Morris

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Status of Court Proceedings on Murder Charges

September 3, 2020 (EDMONTON) – On August 31st, 2020, this matter appeared in St Paul Court of Queen’s Bench. The two men jointly charged with the murders of Morris Cardinal and Jake Sansom appeared at the St Paul Court for the Court to confirm trial dates.

Last month, the Crown received approval to proceed by way of direct indictment, sending the murder trial directly to the Court of Queen’s Bench. This is a procedure whereby the Crown prosecutor sends the case directly to a trial without the accused being able to have a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is a court hearing where a Provincial Court Judge determines if there is enough evidence to have a case go to trial.

Pleas of “not guilty” were entered and the election of trial by Judge and Jury confirmed.  Trial dates were scheduled to be heard over a period of 4 weeks to be held from October 18, 2021 to November 12, 2021.

All trial dates set by a Court are subject to change at any time, before and during a trial.  This can happen for many reasons, such as sickness or unavailability of witnesses.

One of the two accused who was denied bail in June also appeared in the Court of Appeal on August 13 asking the court permission to appeal his bail denial. Justice Wakeling heard the application, and reserved his decision. The decision has now been announced, allowing an appeal to proceed. The accused will stay in custody until the bail appeal is heard in the Court of Appeal on October 20th, 2020.

The other accused has also filed an appeal of his bail denial. Any accused has the right to appeal a court decision, and this is not uncommon in serious cases. It does not indicate one way or another that anything at the bail hearing was done incorrectly. The matter is currently scheduled for September 8 to possibly schedule a hearing.

We will post the date of the second bail denial appeals once it may be determined.

Justice for Jake & Morris

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August 13, 2020

Status of Court Proceedings on Murder Charges

On August 13, 2020, this matter appeared in two separate Courts. The two men jointly charged with the murders of Morris Cardinal and Jake Sansom appeared at St Paul Provincial Court. The charges were in Court for the Crown to confirm a direct indictment, sending the murder trial directly to the Court of Queen’s Bench. This is a procedure whereby the Crown prosecutor sends the case directly to a trial without the accused being able to have a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is a court hearing where a Provincial Court Judge determines if there is enough evidence to have a case go to trial.

The Judge today in St. Paul sent the case to the Court of Queen’s Bench for arraignment at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, August 31, 2020. This will be when both accused persons can enter a plea.  They are expected to enter pleas of “not guilty” which would result in the Court needing to fix trial dates for a Judge and Jury trial.

One of the two accused who was denied bail in June also appeared in the Court of Appeal on August 13 asking the court permission to appeal his bail denial. Justice Wakeling heard the application, and announced that he will deliver his decision within 10 days. He can either rule that the accused has permission to appeal the bail denial order or to deny an appeal. If permission is granted, a bail appeal hearing date would be scheduled later likely either in late August or in September for a fall hearing date.

We will post the results of the August 13th Court of Appeal application as soon as it is released.

We cannot post evidence or details of what was said in Court today due to a non-publication order.

Justice for Jake and Morris

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Update on Court Proceedings on Métis Hunters Murder Charges

July 29, 2020 (Edmonton)– The family of the victims of the two men jointly charged with the murders of Morris Cardinal and Jake Sansom were relieved today when Justice Goss denied bail to the second accused in Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench. The first man to be charged had already been denied bail on June 16th by another Judge of the same Court.

The two accused are now in jail and next make a Court appearance at 9:30 am on August 13 at St Paul Provincial Court when a preliminary hearing date should be set or the case sent to the Court of Queen’s Bench to set a trial date in that Court. At the last Provincial Court appearance in St. Paul, the Crown announced that they expect the Attorney-General to consent to the Crown proceeding by direct indictment.

A direct indictment is a procedure whereby the Crown prosecutor sends the case directly to a trial without the accused being able to have a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is a court hearing where a Provincial Court Judge determines if there is enough evidence to have a case go to trial.

The accused who was denied bail in June is also scheduled to appear at 9:30 a.m. on August 13th in the Alberta Court of Appeal in Edmonton seeking approval from that Court to hear an appeal of the June bail denial. If the Court of Appeal allows his application, a date would be fixed for the actual hearing of the bail appeal probably in the fall.

Statement from Audrey Poitras, President of Métis Nation of Alberta on criminal charges laid against Dwayne Roth

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Edmonton, Alberta – July 29, 2020 – Audrey Poitras, President of the Métis Nation of Alberta condemns, in the strongest of terms, all forms of bullying, violence, sexual assault, coercion and manipulation of anyone by individuals in positions of power.

As information has come to light about sexual assault charges laid by the RCMP against Mr. Dwayne Roth, CEO of the Fort McKay Métis Group Ltd., the MNA offers its support to the Métis women who have bravely come forward to share their stories. They deserve to be heard, and, much more importantly, supported and believed. Sexual assault, violence, bullying and abuse of power have no place within the Métis Nation or Canadian society as a whole.

While the MNA will not be further commenting on the specifics of the charges laid against Mr. Roth, these issues need to be raised and addressed within our communities and the Métis Nation as a whole.  Very often Métis women and girls are put in positions where they are forced to remain silent because of pressures from our communities and existing power structures as well as systemic and institutional biases.  

In the #MeToo era, it is more important than ever that victims are supported as they come forward to identify these repulsive and unacceptable behaviours and share their experiences. This type of conduct has been common in our society for far too long. Our people, communities and Nation need to work together to create safety for girls and women who have endured abuse as well as change the power structures that allow this sort of abuse to continue, including within Métis communities and the Métis Nation. 

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Contact:
Jeri Brown, Media Profile
416-455-7188