On Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018, during the Métis National Council (MNC) General Assembly, MNC President Clément Chartier presented a report entitled, “Addressing the Integrity of the Historic Métis Homeland,” which makes a series of claims about the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO).
The report claims that the MNO has failed to apply the citizenship criteria of the historic Métis Nation adopted by the MNC General Assembly in 2002 (National Definition) and has consistently ignored and been in breach of MNC General Assembly resolutions on citizenship and grandfathering. It also argued that the MNO has attempted to extend the boundaries of the historic Métis Nation homeland by a unilateral declaration in 2017 of “new historic Métis communities” without the consent of the MNC.
The report contained misinformation and inaccuracies about the MNO and included recommendations that were the basis for resolutions passed at the Assembly. One resolution was brought forward to adopt a Métis Nation historic homeland map and another called for MNO to be put on probation for one year.
The vote on this resolution was 29 in favour and 24 opposed.
In her response to the report, MNO President Margaret Froh pointed out the following:
- The MNO was not consulted in the preparation of this report. No inquiries were made to the MNO during the preparation of this report.
- Despite its length and the serious and immediate action it recommends, the MNO was only provided with the report the day before the Assembly.
- There are several errors and misstatements that could have been clarified, had the MNC spoken with the MNO at any point in preparation of the report. President Froh specifically addressed the following:
- The MNO as a Métis government has been advancing a rights based agenda for the last quarter of a century.
- The MNO has been built on a foundation of Métis as a distinct people with a distinct culture, history, language, territory and way of life.
- This priority and these principles are embedded in the MNO Statement of Prime Purpose, which sets out its commitment to advance the Métis Nation, Métis rights and “to continue our affiliation with the Métis National Council for the representation of the interests of the Métis Nation in Ontario at the National and International levels;”
- MNO has for the last 25 years worked with Metis Nation governments across the homeland to advance our collective goals and priorities and to fight for the rights and recognition of the Métis Nation and of Section 35 Métis rights.
- A significant portion of the report was about R v. Powley; yet failed to provide the substantive evidence provided in this historic case.
- President Froh stated: “And let’s be clear on what was stated in the Powley decision – the term ‘Métis’ in section 35 does not encompass all individuals with mixed Indian and European heritage; rather, it refers to distinctive peoples who, in addition to their mixed ancestry, developed their own customs, way of life, and recognizable group identity separate from their Indian or Inuit and European forebears. Métis communities evolved and flourished prior to the entrenchment of European control, when the influence of European settlers and political institutions became preeminent.”
- President Froh went on to detail that the MNO has made many advances on its mandate of Metis rights over the last 25 years and this work continues to be the priority.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What does this MNC resolution mean for my MNO citizenship or my harvesting rights?
A: This decision has no impact on MNO citizenship or harvesting rights.
Q: What does this mean for MNO’s day-to-day operations?
A: This decision has no impact on MNO program and service delivery operations. The MNO continues to provide services and programs – business as usual.Q: What does this mean for the MNO’s day-to-day operations?
Q: Does the Métis National Council provide funding to the MNO?
A: No, MNO’s funding relationships are through direct funding agreements with federal, provincial and other funding sources.
Q: How long has MNO been a part of the MNC?
A: The MNO has been one of the governing members of MNC since 1994.
Q: Does this decision about putting MNO on probation mean the MNO is leaving MNC?
A: The existing relationship with the MNC is embedded in the MNO Statement of Prime Purpose. The decision about what relationship the MNO will have with MNC requires further discussions with leadership, MNO Chartered Community Councils and citizens.
Q: The MNC President’s report talks about MNO not applying the MNC definition citizenship criteria – what is the MNC definition?
A: The MNO adopted the MNC’s National Definition in 2004. Click here to read the National Definition of Métis and to read more about the MNO Registry Policy.
Q: The MNC President’s report talks about MNO expanding the boundaries – what is the historic homeland boundary?
A: Prior to this recent MNC Assembly no hard lines had been drawn around the historic Métis Nation Homeland. There have been many discussions at MNC Assemblies about the varying definitions of the historic northwest and the historic homeland boundary and it was consistently communicated that it extended into parts of Ontario and British Columbia.
Q: What does this mean for the ground-breaking Métis rights Powley decision?
A: It means nothing. This decision has no impact on the Powley decision or the recognition of Section 35 Métis rights. Métis rights holders are Métis rights holders whether they are from Section 35 rights bearing communities in Ontario or connected to what MNC is now defining as the boundaries of the Historic Métis Homeland.
Q: What does this mean for MNO’s relationships with Canada and Ontario?
A: MNO continues today as it did prior to this decision to engage in a government-togovernment relationship with Canada and Ontario to advance a mandate of Métis rights and self-government and to improve the socio-economic well-being of Métis citizens, families and communities. Over the last 25 years, the MNO has worked directly with both levels of government to develop its program and delivery infrastructure of more than 30 points of service, with over 200 staff and an annual operating budget of over $40 million.
Q: What about the Canada-Métis Nation Accord, the Permanent Bilateral Forum (PBM) with the Prime Minister and federal Cabinet, and all the policy and investments made through this process?
A: The MNO, as one of the Métis National Council’s governing members, is a signatory to the Accord and to several sub-accords under this agreement. While the MNO has been placed under probation, it remains a part of the MNC and as such continues to participate in the PBM, policy development and the investments that are being made through that Canada-Métis Nation Accord process.
Q: What impact does this decision have on the MNO-Canada-Ontario Framework Agreement to Advance Reconciliation?
A: It has no impact on that work. The MNO signed this agreement back in December 2017 and this work continues today as it did prior to the MNC Assembly decision.
Any further questions can be addressed to:
Jennifer St. Germain
Updated: Feb. 6, 2019