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Addressing the new Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO), President Froh welcomed the returning and newly elected councilors to the inaugural PCMNO meeting taking place via Zoom on June 27-28, 2020.
“We are facing some amazing opportunities over the next few years and we’ve been given a clear mandate to continue to advance Métis rights and self-government on behalf on Métis Communities and Citizens in Ontario,” said President Froh in her opening remarks. “We should take stock of our many achievements, but turn our attention to all the work ahead of us to engage communities and citizens, increase our communication, and continue to strengthen and advance our systems of governance.”
The agenda for the June PCMNO meeting was designed to update and orient the elected officials on a variety of key topics and priorities, and familiarize new and returning councilors with the roles and responsibilities, including a presentation on the legal duties of PCMNO members.
Legal counsel from Pape Salter Teillet (PST) presented on the MNO’s path to Self-Government and all that had been done to advance the rights and recognition of Métis within Ontario. This inaugural meeting of the new PCMNO was held on the first year anniversary of the signing of the historic Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement (MGRSA).
Included in the two-day meeting was an in-depth overview of the enhancements that have been made to the MNO Registry. Representatives from Know History updated on the results of the Registry Self Government Readiness Process demonstrating that 75% of existing files have been found to meet the MNO’s citizenship criteria. Information was shared about the “SASH” database that is capable of making immediate linkages between Métis family members, the turnaround times that citizens and harvesters should expect, and new communication videos and materials that are being developed to help navigate the Citizenship and Harvester Certificate application processes.
The new PCMNO wrestled with the impact COVID-19 has had on meetings and gatherings, and discussed potential approaches for hosting a virtual Annual General Assembly, Annual General Meetings, holding elections, and addressing vacancies with the use of technology for Community Councils and for the MNO Women’s Council, MNO Youth Council, MNO Veterans' Council and PCMNO Senators. The PCMNO appointed Paul Devillers to act as Chief Electoral Officer to support the work to fill vacancies and hold elections as per the Electoral Code.
While work continues on exploring the best platforms for participation and engagement from Citizens in virtual Assemblies and gatherings, in the meantime, Zoom accounts remain available for Community and Advisory Councils to use in communications. A memo was prepared on directions and security recommendations to help account holders maintain secure meetings on Zoom.
A report from the new MNO Secretary Treasurer was provided which included an outline of what the PCMNO should expect for financial reports going forward. A discussion was held in-camera about the work being done to establish a fair, accountable and transparent governance compensation process. Further information will be brought back to the next meeting of PCMNO.
As elected officials, the incoming PCMNO recognizes, above all, the responsibility owed to its Citizens in advancing an agenda based on Métis rights and the MNO's founding document, the Statement of Prime Purpose.
“As long as we remain true to what has always been our mandate--to respect rights, interests, and aspirations of Métis as distinct people from communities with a distinct history, culture and way of life--we’re on the right path,” shared the President. “We all look forward to the journey ahead, to come together with leadership at the provincial, regional and local levels to advance the priorities and interests of Metis Citizens.”
A follow up PCMNO meeting will be held on July 11-12, 2020, and will include a review of the revised draft MNO Code of Conduct, an overview of the MNO’s economic development structures, Métis Voyageur Development Fund, Prosperity Trust and related investment structures, a deep-dive into the Metis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement and its implementation, and an update on National Métis Matters.
Posted on July 8, 2020
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