M E M O R A N D U M
|From:||MNO President Gary Lipinski|
|Date:||June 11, 2015|
|Subject:||Appointment of Ministerial Special Representative on Métis Rights|
MNO President Lipinski with Minister Valcourt (right) I am pleased to provide you this update on some exciting developments with respect to the advancement of our Métis rights agenda here in Ontario.
Last week, the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs within the Federal Government appointed Mr. Tom Isaac, as his independent Special Representative to engage with the MNO as well as other Métis Nation governments on issues related to the section 35 rights of our communities and nation. Mr. Isaac is a well-regarded lawyer and expert in Aboriginal law and has previously written on Métis legal issues.
More specifically, Mr. Isaac is mandated to meet with Métis Nation governments as well as provinces and territories “to map out a process for dialogue on Section 35 Métis rights.” This engagement will occur over the next few months and Mr. Isaac will provide a written report to Minister Valcourt in December 2015, which will include his independent recommendations on a way forward on these issues. For convenience, this link provides additional information on Mr. Isaac’s mandate and role. This information is also available on-line at: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=984379&tp=1.
I consider this appointment an important ‘breakthrough’ for the Métis Nation. It is the result of all the positive work the MNO has been doing at the local, regional, provincial and national levels on advancing our rights-based agenda. While we still have more work to do before we get to a formal Métis claims process to begin to deal with the rights, interests and claims of Ontario Métis communities, these issues are at least now on the Federal Government’s radar.
The PCMNO will be meeting on June 26th to 28th, 2015 in order to strategize and discuss how to best engage and develop our submissions on behalf of Ontario Métis communities. We have already been in contact with Mr. Isaac and hope he will be able to visit a few of our communities over the next few months. We have also already invited him to the MNO Annual General Assembly so he can experience our distinct culture and see our governance structures in action.
I look forward to keeping you updated on this important initiative as we advance our Métis rights agenda – together.