premier(Left to right) the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs,
MNO President Gary Lipinski, MNO Chair France Picotte, and the Honourable
Dalton McGuinity, Premier of Ontario

Only a few days after receiving a strong mandate in the 2012 Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) election, MNO President Gary Lipinski and MNO Chair France Picotte were already meeting with the Premier Dalton McGuinity and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Kathleen Wynne to discuss issues of importance to the Métis Nation. During the meeting held on May 17 at Queen’s Park in Toronto, Premier McGuinity and Minister Wynne congratulated President Lipinski and Chair Picotte on their re-election and indicated the government looks forward to continuing its positive relationship with the MNO.

President Lipinski emphasized the progress the MNO had made since signing the MNO-Ontario Framework Agreement in 2008. “MNO communities and people have achieved success after success,” indicated President Lipinski, “in all areas right across the board: from the Métis Voyageur Development Fund; to Memorandums of Understanding with government ministries, universities and colleges; to the renewal of the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy; to the many Duty to Consult and Accommodate engagements across the province, to name only a few items – we have achieved a great deal working with the Government of Ontario.” President Lipinski stated it was an MNO priority to renew the MNO-Ontario Framework and continue building on the successes already achieved.

The value of the New Relationship Fund (NRF) to Métis in Ontario was another major area of discussion at the meeting. President Lipinski and Chair Picotte provided a long list of accomplishments that the MNO has realized with NRF funding both at provincial and local levels. The MNO stressed the importance of renewing the NRF, so, that the momentum already established is maintained.

The MNO leadership demonstrated that the NRF and the Framework Agreement have both played significant roles in allowing the MNO to build relationships with industry and resource proponents to promote economic development in Ontario. “We want to encourage economic development in Ontario,” explained President Lipinski, “but it is very important that Métis people benefit from economic development along with all Ontario citizens.”

For their part, Premier McGuinity and Minister Wynne indicated they are proud of what the MNO and the Ontario government have achieved together and feel that the MNO’s priorities work very well with the province’s priorities.