A special sitting of the MNC General Assembly in Ottawa concluded today with delegates focused on the upcoming federal budget and the relationship with the Trudeau government.
Since the last sitting of the General Assembly in July 2017, the Métis Nation has made significant strides in developing its nation-to-nation relationship with Canada. The special sitting of the Assembly from December 12-13 looked at the progress that has been made since then and some of the challenges and opportunities it faces in the period leading up to the federal budget and the Crown-Métis Nation Summit with the Prime Minister in 2018.
On December 12, President Chartier provided an overview of the work that has occurred with federal Ministers and senior officials under the Canada-Métis Nation Accord. Minister of Social Development David Chartrand provided an update on a first-year Accord priority, the negotiation of a Métis Nation-specific employment and training accord with Canada under a renewed ASETS program. MNC officials provided delegates with updates on other first-year priorities such as housing, early learning and child care, education, health and new fiscal relations.
Federal Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett joined the Assembly in the early afternoon and looked at the new relationship of Canada and the Métis Nation and the work under the Accord from the federal perspective.
The important work being done on Michif language was reviewed by representatives from the Louis Riel Institute and Gabriel Dumont Institute who have taken up this work on behalf of the Métis Nation. The federal government has announced its intention to draft legislation for the protection and promotion of Indigenous languages, including Michif, and the Métis Nation, together with the First Nations and Inuit will be fully engaged in the co-development of this legislation.
Kathy Hodgson-Smith briefed delegates on the establishment of a Canada-Métis Nation climate change table and other environment issues where the federal government is engaging with the Métis Nation. One of these environmental issues is a new federal initiative on Indigenous Protected & Conserved Areas.
This is part of Canada’s Target 1 initiative which aims to conserve by 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10% of marine and coastal areas of Canada. Will Goodon from the MNC environment committee and representatives from Parks Canada were on hand to brief delegates on this initiative.
President Melanie Omeniho of Women of the Métis Nation reported on her work on missing and murdered Indigenous women and the problems surrounding the national inquiry.
On the second day of the General Assembly, each of the MNC’s Governing Members provided updates on their section 35 rights tables with the federal government which have been or are being set up toward settlement of historic claims and establishment of self-government. President Chartier and Minister of Finance Chartrand completed the discussions with an eye on a strategy for preparing the Métis Nation for Budget 2018 and the next Summit with the Prime Minister.