NOTICE OF VOTE:

Province-wide Plebiscite on next steps related to Registry Review
A banner saying Have Your Voice Heard

MNO to hold plebiscite on citizenship requirements for its Registry

At the Métis Nation of Ontario’s (“MNO”) 2022 Annual General Assembly (“AGA”), MNO citizens adopted a resolution directing the MNO to, among other things, organize and hold a province-wide plebiscite vote on next steps related to the MNO Registry Review.

The vote will give all MNO citizens—irrespective of their citizenship file status—an opportunity to have their voice heard on the following question of importance:

Should all existing members/citizens of the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) and the MNO Secretariat, whose files do not meet the current requirements for citizenship as set out in the MNO Bylaws and Registry Policy, be removed as members/citizens?

The above question aligns with feedback received from citizens during the MNO’s year-long Registry Review consultation process, as detailed in the publicly available MNO Registry Review Citizen Consultations What We Heard Report (“Citizen Consultation Report”) that was also adopted in principle by the 2022 MNO AGA.

The Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (“PCMNO”) will be meeting in early November to consider the plebiscite voting logistics and processes. Further information on these details will be made publicly available and sent to all citizens, as it becomes available, in the coming weeks. For more general information on the plebiscite, see the MNO fact sheet and frequently asked questions.

Consistent with the AGA’s direction, the MNO will be holding a series of information sessions (see below) available to all MNO citizens on the What We Heard Report so that the issues included in the report are fully explained, discussed, and understood. These sessions will also include information and updates on the province-wide plebiscite. All MNO citizens are encouraged to attend.

Upcoming Information Sessions

MNO citizens are invited to participate in a series of online information sessions on the MNO Registry Review What We Heard Consultation Report and upcoming province-wide plebiscite. These sessions are open to all MNO citizens and will be held over Zoom on the following dates:

Frequently Asked Questions

A plebiscite is a direct vote of all members of an electorate on an important issue. It puts a clear question to the electorate requiring a “Yes” or “No” response. The process provides all members of the electorate with an opportunity to have their voices heard and the outcome provides elected officials with direction on next steps related to the issue of significance by measuring support for a potential course of action.

On August 20, 2022, the MNO Annual General Assembly (“AGA”) passed resolution AGA220820-02, directing the MNO to, among other things, “organize and hold a province-wide referendum…so all existing citizens have an opportunity to make their views known on the following question” related to implementing the results of the MNO Registry and Self-Government Readiness Review (“Registry Review”):

Should all existing members/citizens of the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) and the MNO Secretariat, whose files do not meet the current requirements for citizenship as set out in the MNO Bylaws and Registry Policy, be removed as members/citizens?

For the MNO, the plebiscite is an exercise of Métis self-determination and self-government. It provides the MNO with an opportunity to hear from each of its over 29,000 citizens—as opposed to only those able to attend the MNO AGA or consultation sessions—and measure broad community support for the preferred potential course of action identified by citizens in the province-wide consultation process.

A referendum generally occurs in the context of legislative amendments or enactments and is considered binding on government. A plebiscite, however, functions more as a non-binding advisory opinion to government. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably since both involve a direct vote of all members of an electorate on an important question. Although resolution AGA220820-02 refers to a “referendum,” the MNO’s province-wide vote is more appropriately considered a plebiscite given the content of the question being asked (i.e., which is not specific to a legislative amendment/enactment) and the need to satisfy additional processes and requirements outlined in the MNO Bylaws, in resolution AGA220820-02, and by the courts before being able to “action” an affirmative potential vote outcome (e.g., bylaw amendments, special assembly, special resolutions, etc.).

No. The plebiscite result, in and of itself, cannot amend the MNO Bylaws. As such, if the results demonstrate citizen support for the removal of MNO citizens whose files do not meet the MNO’s current citizenship requirements, additional steps will be required to satisfy the MNO’s obligations as a corporate body (i.e., the MNO Secretariat Inc.) and as an Indigenous government before the MNO can “action” or “give effect” to such results. For example, this would require a special resolution be passed by the MNO General Assembly to amend the MNO Bylaws as well as the development of a fair and transparent reconsideration and appeals process, among potential other things. Both of these steps align with the MNO Statement of Prime Purpose, the MNO Bylaws, MNO Policy #2011-002 Process for Conducting Ordinary and Special Resolutions at a General Assembly, and feedback received from citizens during the province-wide consultations.

In the coming weeks, the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (“PCMNO”) will meet to consider voting logistics and processes for the province-wide plebiscite to ensure the vote is conducted in a fair, transparent, and democratic manner. This may include potentially adopting formal voting guidelines, appointing a Chief Electoral Officer, setting the applicable voting period, and confirming the available voting platforms (i.e., by telephone, electronic, and mail-in ballot). The MNO has also retained the services of an independent third-party with expertise in election and voting services (i.e., One Feather) to oversee and assist in the execution of the plebiscite.

All MNO citizens—including those whose citizenship files have been deemed as “Missing Documentation” or “Incomplete” in the Registry Review process—will be eligible to vote in the province-wide plebiscite. Additional eligibility requirements (e.g., age) may also be outlined in the voting guidelines.

Consistent with the 2022 MNO AGA’s direction, and the MNO’s goal of increasing voter turn out, citizens will be able to vote by telephone, electronic, or mail-in ballot. Any applicable processes and procedures related to these voting platforms (e.g., obtaining PIN numbers, voting packages, voting period/times) will be detailed in the voting guidelines. Further information and instructions, will be will be made publicly available and sent to all citizens, as it becomes available, in the coming weeks.

Questions specific to the status of your MNO citizenship file, including questions about how to complete your file, can be sent to the MNO Registry Team via phone toll-free at 1-855-798-1006, local number 613-798-1006, or email at info@mnoregistry.ca. Questions or requests for support related to the plebiscite can be directed to rsrp@metisnation.org

A Case Study in Excellence

The Registry and Self-Government Readiness Process (RSRP) was initiated by the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) through a Resolution passed on October 22, 2017. The review confirmed that information in the MNO Registry is objectively verifiable and judgements on citizens are based on stringent criteria. This strengthens the credibility of the MNO Registry a critical element of Métis self-government in Ontario going forward.