Voting began today for citizens of the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) on a Métis Constitution, the next step towards self-government, self-determination, and reconciliation. Approximately 50,000 MNA citizens (16 and over) are eligible to vote throughout November, making this the largest ratification vote for an Indigenous nation in Canadian history (see chart).
Today, hundreds of those MNA citizens gathered in the BMO Centre in Calgary to celebrate their culture and commence voting. MNA President Audrey Poitras was there to cast her ballot and deliver remarks.
By ratifying the Otipemisiwak Métis Government Constitution, the MNA will take the final steps towards recognition as an equal order of government within Canada, and the Métis will have increased authority to negotiate their rights and claims. The Otipemisiwak Métis Government Constitution will bring the new Métis government closer to its citizens and communities, and ensure they are better represented in the decisions made. District councils will be given stable funding and clear authority, and the needs and ambitions of citizens will determine the priorities of their Métis government.
While 25 self-government agreements or modern treaties have been implemented across Canada involving 43 Indigenous communities, none are currently finalized in Alberta (see map). In June 2019, the MNA and Canada signed a Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement (MGRSA), which formally recognizes that the Métis Nation within Alberta holds the inherent right to self-government recognized by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. The MGRSA also sets out a process for the recognition of an MNA Constitution—based on the Métis Nation’s inherent right to self-government—in federal legislation.
Ratifying the Otipemisiwak Métis Government constitution will open doors with both Canada and Alberta, including:
- a new fiscal relationship with Canada to finally provide Métis-designed supports to our citizens in health, housing, language, education, training, economic development, and justice; and,
- improve the services MNA provides to Métis in Alberta 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.
MNA citizens can vote in-person, online, or by mail. Voting concludes on November 30th, 2022. Visit MNAconstitution.com for more information.
“The Métis in Alberta have always been at the forefront of advancing our collective rights. I’ve heard stories all my life about Louis Riel’s vision and the dreams of generations of Alberta Métis. Today, as citizens begin to cast their ballots, we are one step closer to finally realizing those dreams and safeguarding the rights of our children for generations to come. This vote is about affirming that we are the Otipemisiwak, the people who govern themselves. Our ancestors are watching; our time is now.” – Audrey Poitras, President, Métis Nation of Alberta.
“The 94th Métis Nation of Alberta Annual Assembly resolved that the final draft of the Otipemisiwak Métis Government Constitution was approved and will be voted on by MNA citizens. As part of the ratification vote process, the Constitution Commission hosted information sessions across the province and every MNA citizen on the Voters List was mailed: a voter information card, a copy of the Notice of Vote, a mail-in ballot package, and instructions for how to review the Constitution online. I hope all eligible Métis Citizens make their views known by participating in this historic ratification vote.” – Del Graff, MNA Chief Electoral Officer.