Métis Nation Meets First Ministers on Economic Growth

Opening Remarks
Meeting of First Ministers and Indigenous Leaders
Ottawa, October 3, 2017

President Clément Chartier
Métis National Council

Prime Minister, Premiers and fellow Indigenous leaders.

The Métis Nation perspective on economic development and economic growth is straightforward.

We are pro-growth and pro-development subject to respect for our rights and the environment.

You will see this perspective reflected in the report on a Métis Nation Economic Development Strategy which we have included in a binder for your review.

This report from 2015 was the result of consultations and engagements of the Métis Nation with governments and industry over a six year period that accompanied significant movement on economic development for our people.

This process included three Métis Economic Development Symposiums in 2009, 2011 and 2015 involving the Métis Nation leadership, the federal Minister of Indigenous Affairs, his counterparts from the five westernmost Provinces and corporate leaders.

At the 2015 conference, I signed a Canada-Métis Economic Development Accord with the federal Minister committing our governments to development and implementation of the Métis Nation Economic Development Strategy.

Access to capital for our Métis Nation entrepreneurs, both loan and equity capital, is a key component of the Strategy.

Strengthening government and corporate procurement policies to benefit our businesses including Métis Nation set-asides is another.

A third, flowing from our section 35 rights, is consistent and reliable consultation and accommodation policies and related collaboration agreements with industry that are engines for economic growth for our communities.

Labour force development is another integral component of the Strategy.

The Strategy builds on the proven track record over many years of our Métis governments’ skills and economic development corporations.

During the 14 years prior to the report, our Métis Nation training and employment ASETS holders accounted for 91,774 clients served, 31,558 employed, and 6,825 returned to school.

Our developmental business lenders or capital corporations on the prairies had rolled over their initial capital of $20 million more than six times for lending totaling $130 million, 2,000 small businesses receiving loans, and close to 6,000 jobs created or maintained.

The Strategy also builds on Métis Nation partnerships with industry and governments.

The current federal government in Budget 2016 provided $25 million for the resourcing of the Métis Economic Development Accord.

In the next big step in the bilateral work on economic development, the Prime Minister, I and the Presidents of our Governing Members signed a Canada-Métis Nation Accord on April 13, 2017, that includes economic development as a priority item.

Pursuant to the agreement, we are making steady progress on Métis Nation specific components of broad and much welcomed federal initiatives that will directly promote economic development as well as provide essential social supports for this development.

These include the renewal and enhancement of a distinctions-based Indigenous skills and employment training program as well as new early learning and child care, housing and scholarships and bursary initiatives for the Métis Nation.

We see the five provincial governments having critically important roles to play in all the priority areas of the Métis Nation Economic Development Strategy and would like as much as possible to tap into their policies and programs to expedite economic development for Métis people.

I should note that at a meeting with the Premiers in 2008, I secured the support of the five westernmost Provinces for what would become the three multilateral symposiums between 2009 and 2015.

So today, with the stars aligning on Métis Nation economic development and in the spirit of reconcilation, I am asking the Prime Minister and the five Premiers to join with me in support of a fourth symposium of their Ministers, Métis Nation leaders and industry representatives to continue this important work that is producing real material benefits for Métis workers, businesses and communities.

Beyond economic development, and taking a whole of governments approach on the road to a true and lasting reconciliation between Canada and the Métis Nation, I also today seek the agreement from you Mr. Prime Minister and Premiers Wynne, Pallister, Wall, Notley and Horgan to engage in a yearly meeting with the leadership of the Métis Nation.

This we believe will lead to a win-win for all parties so engaged.

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