January 19, 2010 — Gary Lipinski, President of the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) is very optimistic about the future of Métis in Ontario following the changes to the provincial cabinet announced Monday by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

“I have already spoken to the Honourable Chris Bentley, the new Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. I am pleased that Minister Bentley is committed to continuing to build on the productive relationship that has developed between MNO and the province,” President Lipinski said. “Continuing to deliver results through the MNO-Ontario Framework Agreement that was signed in November 2008 will be central to how we move forward with the new Minister.”

President Lipinski also offered his congratulations and best wishes to Minister Brad Duguid, who takes over as Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. “We wish Minister Duguid well in his new assignment and look forward to continuing to work with him on specific initiatives related to the Green Energy Act. Over his tenure as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs he has been a friend of Ontario Métis and has overseen positive change in the Aboriginal Affairs Ministry and delivered results.”

Another Minister who has played a key role in the productive and collaborative relationship between MNO and the province is Kathleen Wynne who has moved to the Ministry of Transportation. “Minister Wynne was dedicated to inclusive education and demonstrated through her work an unwavering commitment to all learners, including, Métis and First Nation students in the province,” President Lipinski said. “Through Minister Wynne’s commitment to Métis learners, the Ministry of Education was the first Ministry to sign a MOU with the MNO as a part of the MNO-Ontario Framework Agreement. We look forward to realizing the commitments in this MOU with the new Minister Leona Dombrowsky.”

President Lipinski also acknowledged the work of former Minister of Natural Resources, Donna Cansfield. She was replaced as Minister after indicating she will not run in the next provincial election. “MNR is a very important Ministry for the MNO and Minister Cansfield demonstrated her understanding of the importance of access to lands and resources to the culture and way of life of Ontario Métis, he said. “We look forward to working with the new Minister, Linda Jeffrey, to ensure Metis rights are respected by the Crown in its management of Ontario’s natural resources.”

“Over the last two years, the McGuinty Government has been supportive of the MNO and its citizens. I look forward to continuing the positive and productive relationships and see these changes to Cabinet as an opportunity to continue to work together to improve the quality of life of Métis children, families and communities in Ontario.”

For more information, contact Joanne Meyer , Director of Intergovernmental Relations at 416-977-9881.