Important signing ceremony in MNO Region 8

All nine Regional Implementation Agreements have now been signed by MNO citizens across the province

Back row: ODRMC Youth Rep Michaela Roper; PCMNO Vice-Chair Sharon Cadeau, PMCNO Region 8 Councilor Kate Stewart-McNeil, ODRMC President Helen Giacchetta TYRMC Senator Suzanne Brunelle. Front row: CRMC President Debra Keaney, TYRMC President Shirley Debassige.

The last of nine Regional Implementation Agreements (RIA) was signed by Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Region 8 leadership, marking a significant step forward in MNO’s path of self-government on January 22, 2023.

Over 120 citizens attended the Region 8 signing, led by Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) Councilor for Region 8 Kate Stewart-McNeil and including local leadership: Shirley Debassige, President of the Toronto and York Region Métis Council; Helen Giachetta, President of the Oshawa and Durham Region Métis Council; and Debra Keaney, President of the Credit River Métis Council.

Also attending the signing were council members representing the three signing communities and other MNO leaders such as Tera Beaulieu, Region 8 Representative on the MNO Women’s Council and Gabrielle Moreau, Region 8 Representative on the MNO Youth Council. Toronto and York Region Métis Council Senator Suzanne Brunelle offered opening and closing prayer at the gathering.

In addition to welcoming remarks from Councilor Stewart-McNeil, PCMNO Vice-Chair Sharon Cadeau and MNO Director of Self-Government Strategy Brian Black also addressed the audience, speaking with pride of the immense growth and progress of the MNO as we strive to implement the Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement (MGRSA) signed in 2019.

“I would like to thank everyone who attended, in-person, virtually, and in spirit, and everyone who wanted to attend,” said Councilor Stewart-McNeil. “From my short time in this role to date, I have already picked up many lessons learned. I will be improving, and listening, and staying firmly rooted as we move forward together. I am looking forward to the conversations to come next.”

Regional Implementation Agreements are important tools in the MNO’s ongoing self-government process. Signing an RIA strengthens the existing regional and community council governance structures, leading to workplans and ultimately a process that will advance Métis rights, self-government and self-determination in Ontario.