Métis National Council
For generations, the Métis Nation has struggled for recognition and justice in the Canadian federation. In 1982, the existing Aboriginal and Treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada were recognized and affirmed in s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. This was a watershed for the Métis Nation, with the explicit recognition of the Métis as one of the three distinct Aboriginal peoples.
Prior to the holding of the constitutionally guaranteed First Minister Conference to further identify and define the rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada, it became apparent that the Métis Nation needed to be able to represent itself at a national level through its own voice – a Métis voice. The prairie Métis associations were then part of the Native Council of Canada. Its pan-Aboriginal approach to issues did not allow the Métis Nation to effectively represent itself. As a result, in March 1983, the Métis Nation separated from the Native Council of Canada to form the Métis National Council (MNC) – its own Métis-specific national representative body.
Since 1983, the MNC has represented the Métis Nation nationally and internationally. It receives its mandate and direction from the democratically elected leadership of Métis governments in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, the MNC Governing Members. Specifically, the MNC reflects and moves forward on the desires and aspirations of these Métis governments at the national and international levels.
The Métis Nation is represented through democratically elected governments – Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, Métis Nation of Alberta, Métis Nation British Columbia and Métis Nation of Ontario. These Métis governments are the contemporary expression of the centuries-old struggle of the Métis Nation to be self-determining within the Canadian federation and are the Governing Members of the Métis National Council, the national and international representative of the Métis Nation.
Métis citizens mandate their governments through province-wide ballot box elections held at regular intervals for regional and provincial leadership. They participate in these Métis governance structures by way of elected Locals or Community Councils and provincial assemblies.
Under this distinct system of democratic accountability, MNC Governing Members have served the Métis Nation well by providing an effective means of representation at the community, regional, provincial, national, and international level. As well, the Governing Members have a proven track record in addressing the socio-economic needs of Métis Nation citizens by delivering government programs and services in a fair, transparent, cost-efficient, and accountable manner.