MNA President Poitras Applauds Precedent-Setting Federal Budget for Métis Nation

(March 23, 2017) – Today, Métis Nation of Alberta (“MNA”) President Audrey Poitras commended Prime Minister Trudeau and his government for the Métis Nation specific commitments in the 2017 Federal Budget as well as for the Budget’s more inclusive approach to dealing with all Indigenous peoples.

“This type of explicit inclusion of the Métis Nation in a Federal Budget has been a long time coming for Alberta Métis. For far too long, our Métis governments have been relegated to being treated as mere program and service delivery organizations. This Budget is precedent-setting by finally making an express commitment to supporting Métis self-government and self-determination in the same way that First Nation and Inuit governments have been supported for generations,” said President Poitras.

Specifically, the Budget commits to investing “$84.9 million over the next five years, and $28.3 million per year ongoing, to build the governance capacity of the Métis National Council and its five provincial Governing Members [the MNA is the Métis National Council’s provincial Governing Member in Alberta]. This will lay the foundation for a new relationship with Métis Peoples and support collaborative work with the federal government on moving toward Métis self-government and self-determination. Funding will also support Métis identification registries and the review of existing programs and services.”

In addition, the 2017 Federal Budget provides opportunities for Métis Nation specific approaches and investments in the areas of housing, early childhood development, health, labour market training, the preservation of the Michif language as well as for the resolution of outstanding Métis claims against the federal Crown, which builds on the MNA’s recently signed Memorandum of Understanding on Advancing Reconciliation with the Government of Canada.

President Poitras added, “While we have much more work to do and additional investments are going to be needed to close the gap between Alberta Métis and other Albertans, today represents a monumental shift from historic Federal Budgets that have largely only focused on the needs of First Nations and Inuit. I want to thank the Prime Minister and his government for making this happen.”

“Today’s Federal Budget is an important step in making progress on implementing the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark decision in the Daniels v. Canada as well as advancing the recommendations in the report of Canada’s Ministerial Special Representative on Métis Section 35 Rights, which was issued in July 2016. The MNA looks forward to working with the Federal Government on implementing the commitments in the 2017 Federal Budget.”

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