Métis Nation of Ontario concludes successful
29th Annual General Assembly
More than 400 Métis citizens, leaders, guests and staff from across Ontario gathered in Toronto for the Métis Nation of Ontario’s (MNO) 29th Annual General Assembly from August 18 to 21, 2022.
“What amazing days. Our Assemblies are truly democracy in action,” said MNO President Margaret Froh in her closing remarks. “It has been wonderful to see so many of our citizens in person – to share laughter and hearty and healthy debate. We have made some really important decisions on foundational governance matters. Now we will work together toward concrete actions to come.”
As has become MNO tradition, the Assembly kicked off with a canoe arrival of Métis leaders and dignitaries, including, MNO President Margaret Froh, members of the Provisional Council of the MNO (PCMNO), and invited guests.
On Saturday, after a series of presentations on Métis rights and self-government, the Assembly made several key decisions, including, calling for a federal Métis claims process to be established, the passage of implementation legislation by Parliament this year to fulfill a commitment made in the MNO’s self-government agreement signed with Canada in 2019, as well as providing direction for the MNO to hold a province-wide plebiscite in the Fall of 2022 on what should be done in relation to current MNO citizens with “incomplete” registry files.
In 2017, the MNO initiated an independent third-party review of its Registry to assess whether each citizenship file met the current requirements for citizenship within the MNO (known as the “Registry Review”). Currently, the MNO has over 29,000 registered citizens. The Registry Review results showed that over 80% of citizenship files are “complete”.
Over the last year, the MNO has conducted province-wide consultation to seek input on next steps with respect to “incomplete” files. Additional information about the Registry Review is available here. A copy of the resolution passed by the Assembly is here.
“As a Métis government, we have heard from our citizens and communities that the advancement and protection of Métis rights is their highest priority. Ensuring that legitimate Métis rights-holder are identified through the MNO Registry is central to our self-government,” said MNO President Margaret Froh.
“We have also heard that we should provide all of our 29,000+ citizens the opportunity to have their voices heard on what the MNO should do with “incomplete” citizenship files. Through a province-wide plebiscite, we will ensure that happens before we make any final decisions” added President Froh.
In addition to dealing with Métis rights and self-government and other priority issues, the Assembly provided direction to establish a 2SLGBTQ+ Council.
MNO President Froh commented, “Two-spirit Métis people have historically been valued within our communities, but the process of colonization has devalued and diminished those roles. We now have direction to build upon the tremendous efforts of our 2SLGBTQ+ Working Group to formally establish a permanent structure within the MNO for this important work to continue.”
The Assembly concluded with delegates reflecting on the important progress that the MNO has achieved and the important work that remains ahead. MNO President Froh commented, “We have made some really important decisions on foundational governance matters – we made decisions to advance Métis rights & self-government – to keep moving forward to implement key recommendations coming out of that comprehensive review of the MNO Registry.”
Many dignitaries attended the AGA and brought greetings including Métis National Council President Cassidy Caron, Métis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras, Métis Nation British Columbia President Lissa Smith, Women of the Métis Nation President Melanie Omeniho, Chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Stacey Laforme, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Parliamentary Secretary Julie Dabrusin, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Carolyn Bennett, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Gary Anandasangaree, Deputy Leader of the Federal Green Party, Angela Davidson (Rainbow Eyes), Senior VP, Retail and Operations at Meridian Credit Union Wanita Fonseka, VP of Canada Stakeholder Relations at TC Energy Dave Forestell, and Nuclear Waste Management VP of Indigenous Relations and Strategic Programs Bob Watts.
About the MNO
In 1993, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) was established through the will of Métis people and their communities coming together throughout Ontario to create a Métis-specific, democratic, province wide governance structure. The MNO represents and advocates on behalf of its citizens who are rights-bearing members of Métis communities that collectively hold rights, interests, and outstanding claims protected by sections 25 and 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, including, but not limited to, the right of self-government. Ontario is home to the 2003 Powley decision, in which the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the existence of the Métis right to harvest for food that is protected by Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution. Powley was—and remains—the only Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) decision affirming Métis rights protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.