MNO President Margaret Froh speaks at the provincial
Legistature at Queen’s Park in Toronto. Click here to view a
larger version.

On May 30, 2016 in the provincial Legislature, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Margaret Froh along with other Indigenous leaders responded to the announcement from Premier Wynne concerning the Ontario government’s commitment to reconciliation.

The Ontario government’s commitment arose out of the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) final report that called on governments to work with Indigenous partners to address the terrible legacy of residential schools in Canada. The Ontario government’s commitments include measures to close gaps and remove barriers, create a culturally relevant and responsive justice system, support Indigenous culture and reconcile relationships with Indigenous peoples. Click here to view a complete summary of the Ontario commitment.

President Froh stated: “Ontario’s announcement today acknowledges the hugely negative impact these schools had, and continue to have within our communities; and it charts a course of action to begin to address them.”

Quoting from the TRC report itself, President Froh stressed: “The Métis experience of residential schooling has been overlooked for too long . . . There is no denying that the harm done to the children, their parents and the Métis community was substantial. It is an ongoing shame that this damage has not been addressed and rectified.”

President Froh also emphasized the importance of Ontario working with Indigenous partners like the MNO. “I commend the Government of Ontario for taking the important steps announced today to begin to specifically address the 94 Calls to Action in the TRC’s Final Report, and to do so through a collaborative process in close partnership with Métis, First Nations and Inuit peoples in Ontario,” she said.

President Froh highlighted that the MNO is proud of the respectful and productive relationship it has developed with the Province of Ontario as demonstrated through the MNO-Ontario Framework Agreement. “We will build on that solid foundation to work – together – to advance reconciliation,” she explained. “Six months ago, all three parties of the Ontario Legislature stood together in support of the passage of the Métis Nation of Ontario Secretariat Act – recognizing the Métis Nation of Ontario’s unique governance structure. That was an act of reconciliation,” she added.

In conclusion, President Froh stated: “The Métis Nation of Ontario is committed to working with Ontario, with all parties of the Legislature, with other Indigenous Peoples, and with all Ontarians to this end – together we must chart a new course forward for our province, and for our country, based on respect, understanding and trust. That is the brighter future for all of Ontario.”

Click here to view the complete text of President Froh’s remarks.

The announcement of Ontario’s reconciliation plan was a major event at the Legislature. It included apologies to the victims of residential schools from Premier Kathleen Wynne, Opposition Leader Patrick Brown and New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath and started with a Sunrise Ceremony. Other members of the MNO leadership who attended included former MNO President Gary Lipinski, PCMNO Chair France Picotte, MNO Senator Verna Porter-Brunelle, MNO Youth Council President and Youth Representative Mitch Case, and MNO Post-Secondary Representative Katelyn Lacroix.

Appropriately several residential school survivors were part of the events at the Legislature and among these was Riscylia Shaw, who is an MNO citizen. President Froh and the other MNO leaders present had the opportunity to meet Ms. Shaw as well as numerous government representatives and representatives from First Nations and Inuit governments.

Click here to view a video that was created following the Premier’s apology on May 30, 2016. The video features an interview by MNO President Margaret Froh.

Updated on: September 27, 2016