Submitted by: Richard Cuddy, President of the MNO Credit River Métis Council
MNO Credit River Métis Council President Richard Cuddy presents a sash to
the Region of Halton Administration and Finance Committee Chair Jeff Knoll.
In June of 2013, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Credit River Métis Councillor David Neville initiated contact with the Region of Halton staff. As a resident of Halton, Councillor Neville was curious to see how he and the MNO Credit River Métis Council could work with the region to develop a relationship that could foster better understanding of the MNO citizens in the Credit River area.
A delegation representing the MNO Credit River Métis Council consisting of Region 8 Provisional Council of the MNO (PCMNO) Councillor Anita Tucker; Senator Ray Bergie; Councillor David Neville and President Richard Cuddy had their first meeting with Region of Halton staff in July 2013. The delegation met with Deputy Clerk/Supervisor of Council and Committee Services Region of Halton Ms. Kathy Kielt and Regional Clerk Halton Region Ms. Karyn Bennett with the goal of educating Halton Region’s staff and politicians about the Métis citizens residing in their Region.
The original agenda for the meeting was to discuss certain Region of Halton protocols but under the recommendation of the delegation the focus of the meeting shifted to a discussion about getting to know who the Métis are.
The delegation had the floor for the entire meeting. Ms. Kielt and Ms. Bennett were completely engaged as the delegation provided information about the Métis Nation of Ontario, the MNO Credit River Métis Council and MNO citizens. Not surprisingly, their engagement led to several questions, some without sufficient time to answer. Before the meeting adjourned the delegation and the Halton staff agreed to a follow-up meeting to continue discussions and work toward building a stronger relationship.
The Region of Halton staff contacted the MNO Credit River Métis Council to arrange the follow-up meeting where a delegation would have 10 minutes to present to the Region of Halton’s Administration and Finance Committee. At their AGM on March 30, 2014, the Council approved a motion that would have a new delegation consisting of Senator Bergie, Councillor Neville and President Cuddy continue to engage with the Region. MNO Community Relations staff provided a “Métis 101” power point for the delegation’s presentation.
On April 9, 2014, the delegation’s presentation, that was originally given 10 minutes of allotted time on the agenda, ended 45 minutes later with an additional 35 minutes of questions from the Region of Halton Administration and Finance Committee. The delegation benefited from the receptive and welcoming attitude of the committee.
A motion was made by City of Burlington Councillor Blair Lancaster stating that “the staff be directed to consult further with the MNO Credit River Métis Council on potential collaborative ventures with circulation to area Municipalities and Chambers of Commerce”. The motion was seconded by Mayor of Milton Gord Krantz and passed unanimously.
The meeting ended with the delegation presenting the Region of Halton Administration and Finance Committee Chair and Councillor for the Town of Oakville, Jeff Knoll with a sash demonstrating our commitment to building a relationship.
After the meeting, the delegation spent close to an hour socializing and answering more questions with members of the Region of Halton Administration and Finance Committee, staff and members of the audience.
The MNO Credit River Métis Council feels they have taken an important step forward with the Region of Halton which over time will create a better understanding of the Métis Nation of Ontario, the MNO Credit River Métis Council and Métis citizens. Education and positive relationships are crucial to strengthening our Nation.