Progress Report marking
second anniversary of MNO-Ontario
Progress Report on the relationship
between Canada and the Métis
Nation of Ontario
Greeting from MNO President Gary Lipinksi
Dear Fellow Citizens,
As each New Year begins, most of us reflect on the past and anticipate the future and it is with that in mind that I am sending you the first such letter I have written since becoming your President in 2008.
Firstly, on behalf of the entire Provisional Council of the MNO, I want to extend sincere wishes to you and your family for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011. As many of you know, the MNO has always been and remains an extended family throughout this large province and none of us has to be alone in our aspirations, hardships and successes. In 2011, we look forward to continuing to celebrate the success of Métis people individually and collectively, as well as to lending a hand in assisting our citizens and communities, wherever possible.
Without question, last year will be remembered as a significant milestone in our history as a distinct Aboriginal people. From the recognition of 2010 as the “Year of the Métis Nation” by Canada and Ontario to the renewed sense of Métis pride that can be seen across our province and the entire Métis Nation, we continue to make significant gains in advancing and promoting Métis rights, culture and well-being.
In Ontario, the MNO and its largely volunteer workforce continues to lead the way for the entire Métis Nation on many fronts. From the creation of our Lands, Resources and Consultation (LRC) Branch that works with regions and communities to ensure Métis rights are being protected, to providing more training and employment opportunities to Métis citizens than we have ever been able to before, to continuing to put the MNO’s financial house in order, we have made significant gains over the last couple of years.
As MNO President, I believe, although we post information regularly on the website and in the Voyageur, it’s still important to regularly report back to Métis citizens with a letter and information package such as this. Through these communication tools, you can see exactly what your elected officials are doing on behalf of you, your family and your community. Together, we are truly putting the Métis Nation on the map in Ontario through the hard work of our dedicated staff, untiring volunteers and passionate leadership at the local, regional and provincial levels.
To give you an idea of just some of the successes the MNO has been able to achieve and initiatives we continue to work on, I am pleased to provide the enclosed Progress Reports on our efforts with the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada. These documents outline just some of the work in which your elected leadership and the MNO’s dedicated staff are engaged on your behalf.
I also encourage you to visit the MNO’s website at www.metisnation.org for greater detail on not only what is being done provincially, but also what is being accomplished regionally and locally in so many of our Chartered Community Councils.
Of course, like our ancestors before us, we are not the kind of people who rest on our laurels or simply bask in past successes. We always strive to push ourselves, our communities and our Nation forward. As such, in 2011, the MNO has even more on its agenda than we have had in past years. As always, our Métis rights agenda must continue to be front and centre in 2011.
The LRC Branch will continue its important rights-based work, in collaboration with our Regional Consultation Committees and Community Councils. After 3 long years of negotiation, we will finally be able to start our first community-based research project in the Mattawa/Nipissing region giving us an opportunity to tell another part of the Ontario Métis story and fulfill our commitments under the MNO-Ontario Harvesting Agreement.
We will also continue to push the Ontario Government, and, in particular, the Ministry of Natural Resources, on issues of importance to our people and communities such as trapping, commercial fishing and increasing the number of allowable Harvesters Card that can be issued under the MNO-Ontario Harvesting Agreement.
The Métis Nation’s rights agenda continue to be advanced in the courts. As the Métis Nation of Alberta’s harvesting rights case that deals with Métis mobility issues in the Métis Nation works its way up the court system, it will have important implications for us here in Ontario, similar to how our advancement of the Powley case had important implications for the entire Métis Nation. The Supreme Court of Canada will also likely consider the Manitoba Métis Federation’s historic land claim case in 2011 as well.
With newly secured multi-year agreements in the areas of education and health the MNO will continue to improve and expand the important programs and services we deliver to Métis individuals. We will also remain vigilant in continuing to strengthen the MNO’s finances and administration and to ensure that our debt repayment plans do not falter. I also anticipate that the MNO will be in a position to begin delivering programs in new sectors this year. For example, we have clearly heard that assisting Métis entrepreneurs, businesses and communities in accessing economic opportunities is a priority. As MNO President, I will continue to press on this front and I hope to be in a position to make some announcements in this sector in 2011.
We will continue our province-wide community consultations on the MNO Registry this year. These meetings are important opportunities to discuss Métis identity and the MNO Registry as well as why we created the MNO back in 1993. The sessions also provide citizens an opportunity to talk to the MNO’s leadership about their priorities for 2011. I encourage all our citizens to attend these meetings. Details on these meetings are available on the MNO’s website.
Clearly, we have a busier and even more exciting year ahead us! I, along with all of the MNO’s elected leadership at the local, regional and provincial levels, look forward to continuing to work with you as we move the Métis Nation forward – together!
All the best in 2011,
President, Métis Nation of Ontario