Ottawa, ON – (April 11, 2012) The Métis National Council urges Health Canada to work directly with the Métis Nation in light of the termination of the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO).
Over the past number of months, MNC participated in good faith in a governance review process intended to address the issues that have plagued NAHO since its inception over a decade ago. It became clear that the necessary reform to NAHO would not be possible from within. However, the Métis National Council has offered solutions including alternative models that would be more effective.
MNC President Clément Chartier stated “the solution isn’t to axe the funding altogether, it’s to redistribute the funds that were earmarked for the Métis and other centres that fall under NAHO’s umbrella in a way that made sense for the representatives of the Métis, First Nation and Inuit peoples”. For over a decade, the Métis Nation has advocated a Métis-specific mechanism that is fully accountable to the Métis Nation and thus capable of more effectively advancing the knowledge and evidence base in Métis health research”.
“Our proposal involved eliminating unnecessary corporate and governance costs resulting in a significant annual savings while, at the same time, improving the effectiveness of health research activities for Métis and other Aboriginal peoples” stated President Chartier.
Unfortunately there is a lack of an appropriate mechanism for the Métis Nation to interact with the federal government on health related issues. Despite a recent suggestion from Minister Aglukkaq’s spokesperson that $30 million has been earmarked for Aboriginal health research by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the MNC is not optimistic that these funds will address Métis specific health research needs.
“We call upon Health Canada to work with the Métis Nation to address the void in Métis health research and to ensure that investments to date are not gone by the wayside” stated MNC Minister of Health Bruce Dumont. The MNC is very concerned that Métis focused intellectual property in NAHO’s possession is placed somewhere with the full consent of the Métis people. “This property belongs in the hands of an appropriate Métis Institute and we do urge Health Canada to ensure this is done in an ethical, responsible manner”.