The multi-part inaugural meeting of the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) continued this past weekend, July 11-12, 2020 picking up on work done at the meeting held June 27-28, 2020. Both sessions featured an agenda designed to update and orient the newly elected and re-elected officials on a variety of key topics and priorities for the MNO. The final session of these orientation meetings will take place July 25th and 26th and then it is expected there will be a return to quarterly meetings.

During the two-day virtual meeting, the PCMNO was provided background, updates and reports about the Finance and Audit Committee, Métis National Council matters and the continued Tri-Council collaboration of the MNO, Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA), Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S). In depth presentations were provided on the MNO’s economic development structures and strategies, a review of the MNO-Canada-Ontario Framework Agreement, Agreement on Advancing Reconciliation with the Northwestern Ontario Métis Community as well as the Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement (MGRSA).

“As we move forward on path of constitution-building and self-government, communication and engagement with citizens is critical,” shared President Margaret Froh. “We are continuing to work to improve communication, transparency and accountability and must ensure our democratic processes are accessible to and welcoming to the community and our citizens.”

Regular post-PCMNO Telephone Town Halls will continue, in order to share information on decisions, key developments and provide space for questions from the community. The next Town Hall will take place Wednesday July 15th at 7 pm.

Citizens and Councils have also been invited to provide feedback on items such as: the return to, and use, of MNO office space; the 2020 MNO Election process; the Crown land use forestry survey; among others. More information is available on the MNO website.

Secretary-Treasurers Report:

The Secretary-Treasurer provided the Audit and Community Council Report, with a reminder that MNO Councils must submit regular records of financial statements to the Director of Finance and should use the distributed tracking tool for data analysis. Zoom calls will be held with Councils and leadership to address challenges, reporting status, and to offer support and recommendations. The Secretary-Treasurer and the PCMNO also struck the Finance and Audit Committee appointed Councilors Andrew Dufrane (Region 6), David Dusome (Region 7), and Senator Rene Gravelle.

Virtual Annual General Assembly (AGA):

After much research, the PCMNO has concluded that a Virtual AGA is possible, and will be moving forward with digital platform “Data on the Spot” (DOTS). DOTS has industry experience with hosting online AGMs, and will allow for secure video conferencing, user participation and voting to occur on a single, integrated platform. The PCMNO is now working to address potential barriers and training sessions will be held with staff in advance of the AGA, anticipated to take place in the fall.

Economic Development:

Representatives from legal counsel Pape Salter Teillet (PST) were on the call to provide a historical overview and current update on MNO Economic Development structures and strategies. The presentation outlined the historical work of the MNO in establishing a strong economic foundation, building self-sufficiency, and developing strategic structures to assist in long-term wealth creation. It emphasized the successes that MNO has been able to achieve when all communities and citizens have been working together while still respecting the authorities and unique realities of each region.

A broad overview was given on the MNO Prosperity Law and MNO corporate structure; and updates were provided from leadership and board members on the Infinity Investments Inc. and Infinity Trust, MNO Prosperity Trust, and the Métis Voyageur Development Fund (MVDF).

The presentation also identified strategies to make informed decisions when considering potential various revenue streams to support the future financial aspirations of the MNO, communities and citizens.

Update on National Matters:

President Froh provided an overview on national matters pertaining to the MNO; including recent achievements with the federal government, the MNO’s historical and present-day relationship with the Métis National Council (MNC), and “Tri-Council” collaboration with MNA and MN-S.

At the Tri-Council level, the three governments continue to work to advance the Self-government Agreements and are collaborating on shared priorities. A multi-lateral process for negotiations focused on a “common issues table” has allowed for greater efficiency and collaboration with Canada.

MNO Self-Government Update

Legal counsel from Pape Salter Teillet delivered a presentation that highlighted Canada’s historical claims process, regional claims, the MNO-Canada-Ontario Framework Agreement on Advancing Reconciliation and the MNO-Canada Framework Agreement on Advancing Reconciliation with the Métis Community in Northwestern Ontario.

The day ended with the start of an in-depth section by section review of the historic Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement signed in June 2019. This discussion will continue at the next PCMNO orientation meeting scheduled for July 25 and 26, 2020.

The next meeting will also include discussions on the MNO Draft Code of Conduct, a report back from meetings of the Captains of the Hunt, Finance and Audit Committee, and updates from MNO Branches.

Posted July 15, 2020