On March 3, 2016, Canada’s First Ministers signed the Vancouver Declaration on Clean Growth and Climate Change, and established four working groups to develop options to support the development of a Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Consistent with the nation-to-nation relationship that the Trudeau government has been establishing with the Métis Nation, First Nations and Inuit, the Prime Minister had invited the MNC, AFN, and ITK to meet with First Ministers in advance of the Vancouver Declaration and they have been participating along with the federal and provincial governments in the working groups on clean technology, innovation and jobs, carbon pricing mechanisms, specific mitigation opportunities, and adaptation and climate resilience.
Ms. Kathy Hodgson-Smith led the Métis Nation team participating in the four working groups, with oversight of their work provided by the MNC Environment Committee comprising President Chartier who is also Minister for the Environment and representatives from the Governing Members. The working group reports have been provided to Ministers responsible for making recommendations to First Ministers who will be meeting in early December. The Prime Minister has invited the MNC, AFN and ITK to meet with First Ministers on the eve of this conference to ensure the priorities of the Indigenous peoples are taken into account.
The special General Assembly provided delegates from across the Métis Nation homeland with an opportunity to hear from the MNC and the federal government on the working group reports and to provide direction for the further participation of the Métis Nation in the national climate change agenda. The special assembly also featured a panel of Métis Nation community leaders involved in climate-change induced disaster management and another panel on clean growth business ventures of Métis Nation entrepreneurs and economic development corporations.
The special General Assembly also included sessions on reconciliation and progress reports on the new nation-to-nation relationship with Canada. Mr. Thomas Isaac, the Ministerial Special Representative on Canada/Métis Nation reconciliation provided the assembly with well-received observations of his work and the far-reaching recommendations in his groundbreaking report to the Minister of Indigenous Affairs- A Matter of National and Constitutional Import: Report of the Minister’s Special Representative on Reconciliation with Métis: Section 35 Métis Rights and the Manitoba Metis Federation Decision – that is helping to shape the exploratory talks underway on how to act on the Trudeau government’s commitment to a claims process that sets out a framework to address Métis rights protected by s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 including self-government.
MNC President Chartier provided an overview of the the Daniels decision , its practical implications and its interrelationship with section 35. MMF President Chartrand briefed delegates on the progress being made by the MMF in its negotiations with Canada toward a settlement of the historic Métis land claim upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2013.