A constitution is an essential tool for self-government. It is like a rule book describing how a nation will be governed – the fundamental law of a nation. A constitution recognizes and protects a nation’s values and is the foundation on which a government is built and how its laws are made.
When the constitutions of Indigenous governments are recognized by other levels of government – federal and provincial – they provide the legitimacy and enable Indigenous governments to represent their citizens more effectively. With a constitution in place, an Indigenous government can also better respond to citizens’ needs, provide appropriate services, and position their citizens to pursue long-term economic opportunities.
Despite the incredible progress made, we still struggle to have our right of self-determination and self-government fully recognized. This hampers our ability to protect our citizens’ rights in consultation and negotiation with governments and industry. It also leaves gaps in the services we provide to our people, including mental health, supporting those with disabilities, delivering culturally appropriate child and family services, and caring for our elders when they can no longer take care of themselves.
A constitution will bring our Métis government closer to our citizens. It will ensure that our citizens and rights-bearing communities are better represented in the decisions we make. District councils will be given stable funding and clear authority. And our Constitution will enable our citizens’ needs and ambitions to determine their Métis government’s priorities.
Our Constitution will also open doors with both Canada and Alberta. We will have a new fiscal relationship with Canada to finally provide Métis-designed supports to our citizens in health, housing, language, education, training, economic development, justice, and more. And it will help us move toward reconciliation, bring us greater independence, and give us more power to assert and exercise our rights.