President Chartier, representing the Métis Nation’s national government, stressed the need for the Premiers of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia to take an active role in the federal government’s proposed engagement process with the Métis Nation and its governments in pursuit of reconciliation on a nation-to-nation, government-to-government basis on Métis section 35 rights as recognized and affirmed in the Constitution Act, 1982.
Based on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the significant Supreme Court of Canada decisions over the past several years, coupled with the potential positive recommendations on reconciliation to be proposed by the Ministerial Special Representative, Tom Isaac, slated to be released tomorrow, July 21st, President Chartier informed the meeting that it was now timely for addressing Métis Nation rights and accommodation of Métis governance within Canada as one of the three orders of government recognized in s.35.
President Chartier also re-affirmed the Métis Nation’s willingness to actively participate and engage in the newly formed Federal/Provincial /Territorial /Indigenous Forum (FPTIF) pending the adoption of terms of reference which included a distinctions-based approach, taking into account First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation realities and the respectful use of language acknowledging the “national representatives of Indigenous governments and organizations” as participants in the FPTIF process.
In this connection, it was agreed by the parties to the meeting that a priority item for the FPTIF should be Indigenous child welfare, with continuing work on issues previously dealt with in the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group (AAWG) of the Council of the Federation which is now being replaced by the new FPTIF process. This includes continued engagement on murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, economic opportunities, housing, education, etc.
There was also consensus that the Aboriginal leaders – Premiers annual engagement would continue.