Originally Posted on MNC website. Original story can be viewed at:
Senator Don Meredith with MNO Youth Council Member Mitch Case in the
Senate Chamber following the meeting with the Standing Senate Committee
on Aboriginal Peoples
The voice of Métis youth was heard in Parliament on November 23 in a meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples. The meeting was a chance for the Senators to hear what the priorities and challenges are for youth today.
The Senate Committee meeting was attended by Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Youth Council Member Mitch Case and Métis National Council Communications Officer Adrian Mrdeza. An overview of the overall activities and youth involvement was provided to the Committee outlining the key priority of access to post-secondary funding and the need for the current primary funding source for Aboriginal youth to be examined and revised so the funds are more easily available for its intended purposes – to serve the youth and promote cultural engagement.
Senate Committee members questioned youth panellists on economic development issues, education and training initiatives, and what the reality of being a youth is like today. The Métis Nation stressed the importance of the ability to pursue post-secondary education and that the key barrier to higher learning is the lack of adequate funding. Currently the Métis National Council’s Governing Members have Endowment Funds set up but can only utilize the interest income on these funds to aid Métis students. The recommendation to have these endowment funds ‘topped-up’ was made so that more Metis will have the chance to achieve their educational goals.
Following the official meeting, the youth were invited to take a tour of the Senate Chamber and have one-on-one time with a handful of Senators to ask questions, share ideas and receive advice. It was an opportunity few have had and the Métis were there alongside the First Nations and Inuit youth representatives providing insight on the realities that youth face. It was a discussion that has opened the door to a broader dialogue to be had on Parliament Hill.