February 24, 2016 Ottawa, ON: The Métis National Council (MNC), as the national representative of one of the three constitutionally recognized Aboriginal peoples in Canada, strongly supports the decision of the Prime Minister to invite the MNC, Assembly of First Nations, and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami to meet with the First Ministers ahead of their meeting in Vancouver next week.
“We strongly support Prime Minister Trudeau’s Nation-to-Nation approach to dealing with the three Indigenous peoples and their national representative bodies”, said Métis National Council President Clément Chartier. “As the national government of the Métis Nation, we have long sought this relationship with First Ministers. If we are going to make real progress in dealing with pressing and complex issues, the federal and provincial governments must engage with the First Nations, the Métis Nation and the Inuit.
An integral part of s.35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, is the inherent right of self-government. The Trudeau government has rightly recognized s.35 as the basis for moving ahead with Indigenous peoples and achieving reconciliation. Working with us and the provinces on critical matters requires government-to-government talks and negotiations. Having advocacy groups at the table does not serve this purpose and has in the past rendered discussions nonsubstantive.
The Trudeau government began a new relationship with us when it recognized that “Canada must complete the unfinished work of Confederation by establishing a renewed Nation-to-Nation relationship with the Métis Nation, based on trust, respect and cooperation for mutual benefit.” We take the Prime Minister’s invitation to the three Indigenous peoples representatives as a demonstration of his government’s commitment to seriously come to terms with the issues at hand in that spirit of trust, respect and cooperation. It is time for the Premiers to begin engaging with us in the same spirit not only in federal-provincial forums but also in their engagement with Indigenous people through the Council of the Federation, something I have been calling for repeatedly during the past decade. It is time to move ahead.”
For more information please contact:
Métis National Council
c: (613) 297-5193
The MNC represents the Métis Nation in Canada at the national and international levels. The Métis Nation’s homeland includes the 3 Prairie Provinces and extends into the contiguous parts of British Columbia, Ontario, the Northwest Territories and the United States. There are approximately 350,000 – 400,000 Métis Nation citizens in Canada, roughly a quarter of all Aboriginal peoples in the country.