Some Gains, Need for Clarity in Wake of Liberal Budget

Photo: Prime Minister Trudeau with MNC Finance Minister David Chartrand following budget speech in House.
(photo by Jonathan Hamel, Manitoba Metis Federation)

Consistent with its election campaign promises to the Métis Nation, the Trudeau government included a $25 million investment in the Métis Nation Economic Development Strategy in its budget tabled in the House of Commons yesterday. MNC Finance Minister David Chartrand reacted with mixed feelings, telling CTV News that budgets “can’t please everyone,” and adding “I’m one of those that am not fully pleased. However, I still have faith, I have hope. I have to place trust in this young prime minister.”

Prime Minister Trudeau assured Chartrand shortly after the budget speech that the budget contains plenty of other provisions for the Métis Nation. There is a $96 million increase over five years in Aboriginal Representative Organization funding which the MNC and Governing Members participate in. Federal officials have also assured the MNC that commitments made to the Métis Nation such as permanent Powley funding for the Métis Nation registries and expansion of Métis Nation scholarships and bursaries will be met under existing authorities and resources. Federal and Métis Nation officials will also be working out a Métis Nation allocation under the Urban Aboriginal Strategy, the funding of which was extended in the budget.

According to MNC President Clément Chartier: “I am pleased that there has been an unprecedented recognition of and allocation of funds for the Métis Nation in the five westernmost provinces through the Métis Nation Economic Development Strategy . We have to build on that recognition in a new nation-to-nation relationship with the federal government and new government-to-government fiscal relations.”

The MNC and Governing Members will be meeting with federal officials in the coming weeks to sort out funding arrangements for the commitments made to the MNC and to ensure that the Métis Nation gets a fair share of the increased funding of programs of general application such as early childhood development, social insfrastructure including housing, and green infrastructure. The MNC and the management of Métis Nation financial institutions will also begin discussions today on options for the deployment of the new funding in the budget for the Métis Nation Economic Development Strategy that can be presented to the MNC Board of Governors.

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