The MNO delegation with the federal ministers at the Emergency Meeting on
First Nations, Inuit Métis Nation Child and Family Services. (Left to right) MNO
President Margaret Froh, MNO Chair France Picotte, Minister of
Indigenous-Crown Relations and Northern Affairs Dr. Carolyn Bennett, PCMNO
Region 1 Councilor Theresa Stenlund, MNO Youth Council Chair Paul Robitaille
and Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott. Click here for largeer version
On January 25-26, 2018, a delegation from the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) participated in the Emergency Meeting on First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation Child and Family Services called by federal Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott. The MNO delegation included President Margaret Froh, Chair France Picotte, Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) Region 1 Councilor (and practitioner in the field of child and family services) Theresa Stenlund, MNO Youth Council Chair Paul Robitaille and MNO Youth Council President Mitch Case. They were among over a hundred delegates representing Métis Nation, First Nations and Inuit governments across Canada as well as officials and leaders from the federal, provincial and territorial governments. MNO citizen, and member of the 2014 and 2017 MNO Canoe Expeditions, Gerald Lavallee was also part of the MNO’s delegation and participated in a panel of Indigenous people whose lives had been impacted by child protection services.
The MNO delegation and other Métis Nation leaders were encouraged by the federal government’s commitment to action, in particular its commitment to support Métis governments in their work to advance meaningful, culturally-appropriate reform of child and family services. The MNO was particularly heartened when Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Dr. Carolyn Bennett identified Métis child and family services as a Section 35 right under the Constitution Act, 1982. The MNO acknowledged the participation of Ontario and specifically Michael Coteau, Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services, who expressed Ontario’s commitment to move forward with the MNO to ensure the needs of Métis families and communities are addressed.
President Froh pointed out that in keeping with the MNO Statement of Prime Purpose, promoting the improved health and wellness of the individual, the family and the whole Métis community has always been a priority. MNO programming is prevention based and rooted in a connection to culture, history and in the building of a strong sense of Métis identity. “For us this meeting is about finding the way to make systemic and fundamental change to the child welfare system. The existing system has been imposed upon us and we do not want to create programs that mirror what currently exists – we want better. We will work with Canada and Ontario to enhance our existing community-based supports and work to solidify a longer term vision for Métis Child and Family Services in Ontario.” stated President Froh.
“Ensuring full engagement of the needs and voices of Métis families and communities in this ongoing work will be critical,” explained President Froh, “this will require moving forward through the MNO/Canada/Ontario Framework Agreement for Advancing Reconciliation respecting existing and future agreements such as the MNO-Canada Agreement on Advancing Reconciliation with the Métis community in Northwestern Ontario and ensuring full inclusion of the diverse interests and needs of Métis children and families from every corner of the province.”
Posted: January 31, 2018