mnc1PCMNO members at the MNC General Assembly (back: left to right)
Marcel Lafrance, Tom Thompson, Senator Reta Gordon, Theresa
Stenlund, Pauline Richardson, Chair France Picotte, Anita Tucker,
President Margaret Froh, Senator Porter-Brunelle, Vice-Chair
Sharon McBride, Senator Joe Poitras, Ernie Gatien and
Secretary-Treasurer Tim Pile (Picture courtesy of MNC).

The weekend of June 17-18 was a big one for the Métis Nation as the leaders of all five of the Métis National Council’s (MNC) governing members visited Winnipeg, Manitoba for the MNC General Assembly. Here the members of the recently elected Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) joined their colleagues from the Métis Nation British Columbia; the Métis Nation of Alberta; Métis Nation – Saskatchewan; and the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) in discussions about issues crucial to the entire Métis Nation.

“The PCMNO went to Winnipeg to ensure that the voice of Ontario Métis was heard on a national level,” explained Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Margaret Froh, “the recent Daniels decision will most assuredly make relations between Canada and the Métis Nation increasingly critical and the MNO put Ontario issues on the national agenda,” she added
Besides President Froh, PCMNO members who attended as voting delegates included Chair France Picotte, Vice-Chair Sharon McBride, Secretary Treasurer Tim Pile and Executive Senator Reta Gordon.

mnc2The MNO’s voting delegates at the MNC General Assembly: (Left to
right) Secretary-Treasurer Tim Pile, Vice-Chair Sharon McBride,
President Margaret Froh, Chair France Picotte and Executive
Senator Reta Gordon (picture courtesy of MNC).

Also in attendance as observers were PCMNO Regional Councillors Theresa Stenlund (Region 1), Marcel Lafrance (2), Ernie Gatien (4), Tom Thompson (6), Pauline Richardson (7), Anita Tucker (8) as well as Postsecondary Representative Katelyn LaCroix, Youth Representative Mitch Case and PCMNO Senators Joseph Poitras and Verna Porter-Brunelle.

PCMNO members participate in a whirlwind of activities during the MNC General Assembly. In addition to General Assembly business on June 17-18, PCMNO members also participated in a Métis Nation Constitution Convention on June 16 where they contributed to discussions around the latest version of a proposed MNC constitution. During the morning of June 16, delegates heard from Tom Isaac, the Ministerial Special Representative to Lead Engagement with Métis. Isaac was appointed in June 2015 and since then has met with Métis, provincial and territorial governments in order to recommend a way forward for Canada-Métis Nation engagement. Isaac met with past MNO President Gary Lipinski shortly after his appointment as Special Representative and his recommendations on future engagement are expected to be released in the near future.

“In light of not only Daniels, but also the recent agreement between Canada and the MMF and the campaign commitments made to the Métis Nation by the current government, Tom Isaac’s recommendations will likely have significant impact on future Canada-Métis Nation relations,” commented President Froh.

MNC delegates also heard from the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. Minister Bennett reviewed the government’s commitment to the Métis Nation made in the last election and the progress so far in fulfilling these commitments.

Following the conclusion of the General Assembly on June 18, PCMNO members participated in a Métis Nation Symposium where different panels of speakers lead a discussion about the “Emergence of the Métis Nation.” Panelists included Jean Teillet, well-known Métis lawyer who was lead counsel on the historic Powley Case and Dr. Brenda McDougall, Chair of Métis Research at the University of Ottawa.

Propitiously, the MNC General Assembly fell on the same weekend as the commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Seven Oaks. The Battle of Seven Oaks played a crucial role in the development of the Métis Nation. During the Pemmican Wars between the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) and the Northwest Company, Métis under the leadership of Cuthbert Grant defeated HBC forces at Seven Oaks, which is an early example of the Métis coming together to protect their national interest. PCMNO members attended ceremonies at the Cuthbert Grant gravesite, Grant’s Old Mill Museum and Battle of Seven Oaks National Historic Site.

The MNC General Assembly was a valuable opportunity for the PCMNO to represent the interests of Ontario Métis within the Métis Nation as well as network with their fellow Métis leaders. In this way, not only do MNO citizens benefit but all the citizens of the Métis Nation.

Posted: June 24, 2016