On September 21, 2017, Six federal cabinet ministers and Métis Nation leaders met in Ottawa to review progress on priority issues under the Canada-Métis Nation Accord.
The first of two Métis Nation-Canada meetings at the ministerial level to work on priorities in advance of the next Summit with the Prime Minister concluded with a joint communique outlining the considerable progress made to date.
“I was very pleased with the outcome of this important meeting”, said President Chartier. “We are all working systematically on this which is the most effective, in fact, the only way in which we can accomplish this year’s objectives. ”
The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, made a major announcement at the meeting regarding the contributions of Métis Veterans:
“The Government of Canada will begin work immediately, in partnership with the Métis Nation, to address concerns that there have been past discriminatory practices of Métis Nation Veterans. The scope of this work will include the service of World War II Métis Veterans and will consider whatever information sources are available. The outcome we seek is to identify any discriminatory practices that may be discovered and to take concrete action, in the spirit of reconciliation, to address these findings. No matter their background, any individual who serves in Canada’s armed forces must be treated fairly and equitably by the Government of Canada.”
Statement – Veterans Affairs Minister Recognizes Contributions of Métis Veterans
Communiqué: Canada-Métis Nation Leaders Meeting
From Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Ottawa, Ontario – September 21, 2017
The President of the Métis National Council and its Governing Members’ Presidents (“the Leaders”), along with federal cabinet Ministers with responsibilities for priorities identified in the Canada-Métis Nation Accord today issued the following joint communiqué highlighting outcomes from their first ministerial-level meeting under the Permanent Bilateral Mechanism:
Today’s meeting provided an opportunity for the Leaders of the Métis Nation to meet with key federal Ministers to discuss progress in advancing and implementing the priorities of the Canada-Métis Nation Accord. The Leaders and Ministers reaffirmed the value of the Permanent Bilateral Mechanism process and their ongoing commitment to undertaking joint work and policy co-development in the priority areas set out in the Accord.
The Leaders welcomed the considerable work that has been undertaken to date toward a renewed government-to-government relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership. The Leaders also agreed that the Government of Canada investment in permanent governance capacity for the Metis Nation in Budget 2017 was a step forward in advancing this relationship, and noted the ongoing commitment from all sides toward concrete deliverables for the Métis Nation.
Discussions in today’s meeting focused on ensuring future federal government initiatives are informed by Métis Nation perspectives and priorities as Ministers prepare their proposals for considerations as part of Budget 2018, and that the parties respect the spirit of co-development outlined in the Canada-Métis Nation Accord.
Building on the priorities outlined in the Accord, the Leaders and Ministers agreed that early learning and child care (ELCC), housing, and skills and employment training are the three areas in need of urgent action and investment.
Ministers recognize the considerable work the Métis Nation has undertaken which has enabled it to provide its recommendations to Canada for next steps in these three areas. The Métis Nation provided Canada with proposals and draft companion accords in all three areas, and the Leaders and Ministers had a detailed discussion on their implications.
The Ministers and Leaders discussed draft accords in the areas of Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training (ASETS), ELCC and housing and instructed officials to continue work in advancing these documents with the goal of finalizing accords once both parties have completed their respective approval processes.
The Ministers and Leaders agreed that the documents presented today, which will form part of the ongoing co-development processes, will provide frameworks for concluding regionally-based arrangements or agreements with the Governing Members in the priority areas. They also had an opportunity to discuss other priority areas, including Métis veterans, education, health, new fiscal relations, as well as economic development.
The Leaders agreed on the critical importance of getting this process right in order to ensure progress on reconciliation between Canada and the Métis Nation.
This Joint Communiqué has been signed by the Métis Nation Leaders and federal cabinet Ministers in Ottawa, on September 21, 2017.