Submitted by: Todd Ross, Chair of MNO Toronto York Region Métis Council

Paquette_Minister Hehr_Ross
(L-R) Joseph Paquette (MNO Veterans’ Council President),
the Honourable Kent Hehr (Minister of Veterans Affairs),
and Todd Ross (Chair of MNO Toronto York Region Métis
Council). Click here to view a larger version of the picture.

On November 24, 2016, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Veterans‘ Council President Joseph Paquette and Todd Ross, Chair of MNO Toronto York Region Métis Council were invited to attend a special event coordinated by Toronto Council Fire. The event entitled, In Recognition and Memory of Heroes of our Time, was an opportunity for the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs, to meet with Indigenous veterans and Residential School heroes from Toronto.

Prior to the start of the event, Minister Hehr mingled with a few of the assembled guests. President Paquette used this opportunity to speak with the Minister on the importance of remembering who we are and presented him with a copy of the MNO Veteran’ Council book entitled, Fighting For Canada Before There Was A Canada: Ontario Métis Veterans Pass the Torch.

President Paquette was invited to say a few words during the event where he emphasized the wrongs that have occurred to Indigenous veterans, including Métis veterans, and reminded Minister Hehr of the strong mandate letter from the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P., Prime Minister of Canada, where he states:

No relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

The next speaker was Minister Hehr who thanked the previous speakers and reconfirmed his commitment to achieve the tasks given to him by the Prime Minister, which include a renewed relationship with Indigenous Peoples.

The event also included an Honour song as well as a speech by Gordon Byce, the founding President of Council Fire and the brother of the late Charles Byce—Canada’s most highly decorated Aboriginal soldier in World War II. Once the speeches were complete, veterans were treated to a moose stew lunch and a strawberry drink.

Posted: January 19, 2017