MNO Welcomes Appointment of Special Representative on Métis Section 35 Rights

Original source: Métis National Council

special-representativeMNO Chair France Picotte with the Honourable Bernard Valcourt,
Federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
MNC picture

At the June 4 meeting of the Métis National Council (MNC) Board of Governors in Calgary, the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development announced the appointment of Tom Isaac as the Ministerial Special Representative (MSR) on Métis reconciliation.

The MSR ‘s dual mandate is to address a reconciliation process related to Métis section 35(1) rights and establishes a framework for negotiations with the Manitoba Metis Federation to respond to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Manitoba Metis Federation v. Canada, 2013.

The MSR will engage with the MNC, its governing members, which includes the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO), the Métis Settlements General Council and the provinces in the upcoming months and will report to the Minister by December 18, 2015.  The Federal Cabinet and the MNC and governing members will then respond to the Special Representative’s recommendations and a more specific process of negotiations would follow pending authorization and willingness by the respective parties.

Mr. Isaac joined the Minister at the announcement. He is a nationally recognized authority in the area of Aboriginal law and leads the Aboriginal Law Group at the law firm Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt. He regularly negotiates on behalf of industry and governments in respect of impact, benefit and access agreements with Aboriginal groups, and advises on Aboriginal consultation and accommodation processes and agreements. He told the Métis Nation leaders that he was honored to take up the challenge to reconcile Métis rights and looked forward to meeting the leaders shortly.

MNO Chair France Picotte, who was representing MNO President Gary Lipinski at the meeting stated: “The MNO looks forward to working with Mr. Tom Isaac on the reconciliation of Metis Section 35 rights and interests in the Province of Ontario. The MNO would like to thank Minister Valcourt for following through with his commitment to the Metis Nation.”

Métis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras stated:  “We are excited that the Government of Canada is taking action on the Metis specific recommendations contained in the report “A New Direction-Advancing Aboriginal and Treaty Rights” authored by Douglas Eyford.  The MNA looks forward to working with Ministerial Special Representative Tom Isaac on the development of a framework to reconcile Metis Section 35 rights and interests.”

Métis Nation British Columbia President Bruce Dumont stated: “On behalf of all Métis in British Columbia, we are very pleased with this announcement today and look forward to meeting with Mr. Isaac and discussing S.35 Rights for Métis in British Columbia.”

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