Métis Economic DevelopmentFront (l-r) Gary Lipinski, President of MNO; Denise White, with the
Métis Settlements General Council; John Duncan, Minister of Indian
and Northern Affairs & Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-status
Indians; Clément Chartier, President of MNC; Shelly Glover,
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of INAC; and Audrey Poitras,
President of the Métis Nation of Alberta. Back (l-r) Lori Sterling,
Ontario Deputy Minister of Aboriginal Affairs; Barry Penner,
BC Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation; Bruce Dumont,
President of Métis Nation of BC; David Chartrand, President of
the Manitoba Métis Federation; Ron Crowe, Saskatchewan Deputy
Minister of First Nations and Métis Relations; Vic Toews, Federal
Minister of Public Safety; Alan Morin, Vice-President of the MN-S.
VANCOUVER, Jan. 22 /CNW — Métis participation in the Canadian economy received further impetus with the Métis Economic Development Symposium (MEDS), held this week in Vancouver. Following two days of discussions involving Métis leaders, the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Aboriginal Affairs Ministers from the five western-most provinces, and their senior officials, agreement was reached to establish a Working Group toward the development of a long term Métis economic development strategy.

This strategy will consider areas such as: encouraging successful and sustainable Métis entrepreneurship; ways to engage with the private sector in economic development; and participation in the workforce. The Working Group will report back to Principals in 2013.

Métis National Council President Clément Chartier says, “We’ve reached the point in our discussions that we are now ready to take the Métis Economic Development Strategy to the next level. MEDS has been a great opportunity to exchange views and build good will with our Federal and Provincial counterparts. Now it’s time to get down to develop a long-term strategy and for this, we are keen on engaging private industry.”

The first Métis Economic Development Symposium was held in Calgary in December 2009 to discuss ways to promote Métis-specific economic development initiatives at the policy and program levels. MEDS 2 in Vancouver reported back on the progress made since then on successful approaches to economic development and expanded discussions to focus on strengthening entrepreneurship among Métis women. Métis leaders are looking forward to forging long term partnerships with Industry as an integral part of the Métis Economic Development work plan during the next two years.

President Chartier adds, “Hearing the progress that has been experienced across our homeland is very encouraging such as the recent $4 million investment by the federal government and the Province of Manitoba in a fund to be operated by the investment management arm of the Manitoba Métis Federation. It’s these kind of initiatives we need across the Métis Nation to aid our Métis-owned businesses increase their participation in the country’s economy in areas such as the resource and energy sectors. We are definitely on the move.”

The MNC represents the Métis Nation in Canada at the national and international levels. The Métis Nation’s homeland includes the 3 Prairie Provinces and extends into Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the northern United States. There are approximately 350,000 – 400,000 Métis Nation citizens in Canada, roughly a quarter of all Aboriginal peoples in the country.