M E M O R A N D U M
To: MNO Citizens, Community Councils and PCMNO
From: Gary Lipinski, MNO President
Date: December 3, 2015
Subject: Métis Nation of Ontario Secretariat Act
On December 1, 2015, Bill 153: The Métis Nation of Ontario Secretariat Act, was introduced into the Ontario legislature. A copy of this Bill, along with additional background information on the legislation, is available through the links at the bottom of this memo.
This Bill is a very positive and exciting development in our ongoing quest to advance Métis rights, self-government and reconciliation in Ontario. It is a result of the hard work and dedication of Métis leadership at the local, regional and provincial levels working–together–to put Métis issues and the MNO increasingly on the map in this province.
More specifically, the proposed legislation comes from repetitive and unanimous calls from the MNO Annual General Assembly–the highest governing authority within the MNO where all Métis citizens have a voice–to secure provincial legislation that recognizes the MNO’s unique governance structure. These types of resolutions were passed in 2001, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2014.
Most recently, following a presentation on the MNO’s discussions with the Ontario government on this legislation, the 2015 MNO Annual General Assembly passed the following unanimous resolution, which provides clear direction to the MNO’s governance structures at the local, regional and provincial levels:
RESOLUTION ON PROVINCIAL LEGISLATION RECOGNIZING THE MNO
WHEREAS past MNO AGAs have called for the MNO’s leadership to work with the Ontario Government to secure legislation that recognizes and respects the MNO’s unique governance structure;
AND WHEREAS the MNO’s leadership and legal counsel have presented the MNO AGA on the progress that has been made on this issue as well as the proposals being considered;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
1. That the 2015 MNO AGA fully endorses the MNO moving forward on securing provincial legislation that recognizes and respects the MNO’s unique governance structure;
2. That, when it is strategic, all of the MNO’s governance structures at the local, regional and provincial levels will provide letters of support to the provincial government and opposition parties in an attempt to secure unanimous support within the legislature for this historic legislation.
Based on this mandate, the MNO’s staff and legal counsel (Pape Salter Teillet LLP) have worked with Ontario government officials to craft legislation that recognizes the MNO’s unique governance structures as well as addresses many of the MNO’s concerns with current and future Ontario legislation dealing with not-for-profit corporations. I encourage all MNO citizens to review the Backgrounder and Frequently Asked Questions document that is available on the MNO’s website at www.metisnation.org to better understand the proposed legislation.
It is also important for all MNO citizens to remember that the MNO had to follow the procedures for how provincial legislation is developed. While the MNO was involved in the development of the legislation, the Bill was ultimately drafted and tabled by the Ontario government. As such, until the legislation was officially tabled with the Ontario legislature, the Bill was not able to be made publicly available.
Now that the Bill has been tabled, the MNO’s leadership and its legal counsel (Pape Salter Teillet LLP) has extensively reviewed the proposed legislation. The Bill reflects our discussions with the Ontario government and we are very supportive of it. Over the next few days, we will be debriefing local, regional and provincial leadership to explain the legislation in greater detail. We also encourage any citizens who have questions or would like more information on the Bill to contact Margaret Froh, MNO’s Associate Chief Operating Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are optimistic that we will see history being made with the passage of the first ever Métis-specific legislation in Ontario. This will truly be historic and will represent a significant step forward for the recognition of the MNO on our way to true self-government. Similar to other provinces such as Saskatchewan and Alberta where Métis governance structures have been recognized in provincial legislation, MNO will now join those ranks. This could never have happened without our citizens and communities working–together.
I look forward to providing you with updates on the progress of this exciting development.