OTTAWA – March 25, 2010 — Gary Lipinski of the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) says the commitment by the Government of Ontario to invest in resource development, job creation and education is good news for Métis in Ontario. Word of that commitment was included in the 2010 Ontario Budget brought down Thursday afternoon in Toronto
“I am especially pleased to hear that the Government of Ontario has made a four year, $60 million dollar commitment to the New Relationship Fund (NRF),” President Lipinski said. “Over the past two years, NRF funding has given the MNO and its Community Councils an opportunity to build the capacity necessary to ensure active engagement in duty to consult activities across the province.”
That enhanced capacity will ensure that Métis are able to engage in meaningful consultation as development activities around the mineral rich deposit called the “Ring of Fire,” located near Thunder Bay, ramp up. In a phone call to President Lipinski shortly after the budget came down, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Chris Bentley reaffirmed the government’s commitment to Resource Benefits Sharing as a way of including the Métis in the benefits that will flow from resource development in the province.
As well, MNO welcomes the province’s $310 million dollar investment in postsecondary education. “Training and skills development have always been priorities for the MNO and we recognize that investing in an educated workforce will have lasting and long term benefits to Métis in Ontario and the province generally.”
By investing in resource based developments and postsecondary education, the province is demonstrating that it is committed to the plans outlined in the MOU signed with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) in January. MTCU is the second government ministry to sign on to the MNO-Ontario Framework Agreement signed between the MNO and the province in November 2008.
“Adding badly needed spaces at colleges and universities will help to ensure that Métis people have the skills and training they need to participate in the jobs that will result from the significant developments about to take place in Ontario’s North,” President Lipinski concluded.
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Director of Intergovernmental Relations