Meeting of Métis Governments from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario
What is the significance of the Tri-council Meeting of Métis Governments that was held in Edmonton, Alberta on January 14 – 16, 2020 and brought together the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO), the Métis Nation of Alberta, and the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan (MNS)?
This meeting marks the first time the Governments of the MNO, MNA and MNS have ever assembled together in a Tri-council Meeting to discuss common priorities, share best practices, provide information about their registries and discuss next steps in advancing the Métis Government Recognition and Self Government Agreements (MGRSA).
Why were there only three Métis Governments in attendance?
In June 2019 MNO, MNA and MNS signed the first ever Métis Government Recognition and Self Government Agreements (MGRSA) with Canada. As a result these three Governments share a number of common priorities related to advancing self-government in their respective provinces.
How did this meeting come to be?
Leading up to and following the signing of the MGRSA senior officials and leadership from MNO, MNA and MNS have increasingly been exploring opportunities to come together to share information, address common concerns and identify joint priorities.
Who attended the Tri-council Meeting?
The elected leadership of all three governments were invited to attend and participate. In addition to the elected leadership of all three Governments the meeting was attended by senior staff (including Citizenship Registrars) and legal advisors.
What was the purpose of the meeting?
Over the three days, the primary focus was on identifying common priorities, mutual beneficial opportunities and enhancing collaboration and cooperation between the three Métis Governments.
What was the content of the presentations and discussions during the meeting?
A copy of the agenda was circulated to MNO Community Council leadership and posted on the MNO website. During the sessions each government provided presentations on their history and governance structure, information about citizenship and registry systems and program best practices. The meeting also included a specific section about the significance of the signing of the MGRSA and the next steps in its implementation. Notes were taken during the meeting and a report will be prepared for distribution.
Were any decisions made by the delegates in attendance? How were they made?
On the last day of the Tri-Council meeting delegates had the opportunity to consider two key matters that had been a large part of discussions during the meeting including a joint statement and a resolution. Each Métis Government took time to caucus and review the drafts with their respective leadership, then all delegates came back together to discuss, ask questions and develop an agreed upon process for decision making.
Ultimately the delegation passed a resolution: calling for more transparency and accountability from the Métis National Council (MNC); affirming that self-government and rights related discussions and negotiations must occur between Canada and the Métis Governments, not through the MNC; and directing the creation of a working group to explore potential reform of the MNC.
The Tri-council delegates also passed a joint declaration to continue to work together at the national level in their ongoing collaborations and negotiations with Canada. As well, that they will work to develop a memorandum of understanding that formalizes the relationship of the Métis Governments at the national level for consideration at a future Métis Government Tri-council meeting.
As this was not a meeting of the MNC are these decisions valid?
The Tri-Council Meeting brought together for the very first time the democratically elected leadership of these three Métis Nation Governments. The FAQ has already outlined how the joint statements were discussed, debated and put forward for consideration by all in attendance. The delegates established an agreed upon process and ultimately the declaration and resolution were supported by consensus. It will be up to these three Governments to determine how they will carry these decisions forward.
Did this meeting change anything about how the MNC is structured?
The MNO, MNA and MNS comprise the majority of the Board of Governors of MNC. The decisions made during the Tri-Council made no reference to composition or structure of MNC but rather called for greater accountability and reform of the MNC.
What about the letter that was sent to President Froh from Clem Chartier and the press release the MNC put on its website on January 20, 2020?
In what appears to be MNC’s response to the success of the Tri-Council Meeting MNC President Chartier sent a letter to MNO’s President which claims MNO is now suspended from the MNC’s governance. Subsequently MNC distributed and put on their website a press release which makes a number of serious allegations against the Presidents of MNO, MNA and MNS. A MNO Bulletin on this issue was sent to MNO leadership that same day and can be found here
What does this letter and press release mean for the MNO?
While the responses from MNC are disappointing they are unfortunately not surprising and have been the consistent messaging that has been directed at MNO from MNC’s leadership for the last several years. For more information see the update on National Matters on the MNO website:
These claims effectively mean nothing to how MNO operates as a Métis Government and the MNO will continue to advance the rights, interests and aspirations of Métis families and communities in Ontario as it has for the last 26 years.
What is the MNC?
The MNC was established in 1983 to act as a national voice for the Métis governments that created it (i.e., the MNC’s Founding and Governing Members) based on the following principles:
- the MNC’s sole authority flows from the mandates provided to it by the democratically elected Métis government that are a part of it (i.e., the MNC Governing Members);
- the MNC’s Governing Members, as Métis governments, have sole authority to deliver programs and services to Métis citizens and the MNC cannot interfere with the jurisdictions of the Métis governments that mandate it.
Is the MNC a government?
No, the MNC is not a Métis government, but a representative body that is mandated by democratically elected Métis governments (i.e., the MNC Governing Members).
How have the Métis Governments of MNO, MNA and MNS been working to address the growing concerns at the MNC?
The Presidents of MNO, MNA and MNS have made repeated requests in writing for MNC President Chartier to call a meeting of the Board of Governors (BOG) in order to address the probation resolution and to deal with other critical financial and governance matters. Those requests have been repeatedly denied.
Is MNO still a governing member of the MNC?
While the letter from President Chartier claims MNO has been suspended from MNC’s governance there is in fact no authority under the MNC bylaws for this to occur. Furthermore the decision of the Assembly referenced probation and to revisiting the matter at a future Assembly. These latest actions are contrary to the MNC Bylaws and the Assembly direction.
What about the work of the Canada-Métis Nation Accord and the Federal Government commitments that have been made?
Ontario is a part of the Métis Nation and MNO remains a signatory to the Canada Métis Nation Accord and all subsequent National Accords. MNO has already received significant investments and will continue to engage with Canada to advance distinctions based priorities.
What about the letter sent from MNC that indicated that MNC President Clem Chartier was taking a step back from active leadership in MNC?
On November 6, 2019 Clem Chartier sent a letter indicating … “I will withdraw from an active role in national leadership so as not to compromise the MNC” and detailed that MMF President David Chartrand would “serve as national spokesperson”. It should be noted that none of these MNC actions were discussed with the Board of Governors of MNC.
Does any of this change any of the outcomes of the Tri-council meeting?
Absolutely not, MNO, MNA and MNS found common ground for collaboration, and furthered the process to formally and legally recognize Métis governments as Indigenous governments in Canadian law. The Self-Government Agreement signatories will continue to work together to advance Métis issues and rights, including the right to self-government and self-determination. These three governments also remain committed to reform of the MNC.
What impact do these latest MNC claims have on my MNO Citizenship?
It has no impact at all.
What impact do these latest MNC claims have on my Métis Section 35 Rights?
It has no impact at all.
What impact do these latest MNC claims have on the Métis Government Recognition and Self Government Agreement that MNO signed with Canada or any other agreements that MNO signed with Canada or Ontario.
It has no impact at all