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Métis Nation Assembly Defines Nation-to-Nation Relationship

Press Release

On March 19, 2017, the governments of the Métis Nation concluded three days of policy and planning discussions at an economic development forum and a special sitting of the General Assembly in Vancouver.

The Métis Nation Economic Development Forum on March 17 enabled the MNC, its Governing Members and their economic development corporations to review progress on the Métis Nation Economic Development Strategy since it was funded in the federal budget of 2016. Delegates heard from the MNC on economic policy priorities and from the senior management of capital corporations and economic development funds.

Susanna Cluff-Clyburne of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce spoke to the critical issue of access to capital for Indigenous entrepreneurs which is identified as one of the top “Ten Ways to Build a Canada that Wins 2017” , a recent report of the Chamber. Murray Rowe, Jr., the President of the Forrest Green Group of Companies and JP Beaupre, Sr. Manager Global Partnerships BlackBerry, addressed the topic of big data and its use in solutions for some of the key social and economic challenges facing the Métis Nation.

The conference also focused on a “New Way for Doing Major Resource Development Projects”. Kathy Hodgson–Smith and Kyle Vermette of the Métis Nation and Brian McGuigan, Manager Aboriginal Policy, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers spoke on Duty to Consult and Major Projects Approval. Al Benoit of the Manitoba Metis Federation set out the consultation and economic accommodation plan that is being advanced by the MMF in its dealing with the Province and industry.

The forum identified a number of critical issues and related solutions which are expected to be taken up as resolutions of the MNC General Assembly. This approach encourages the Metis Nation to work with Canada and through the whole-of-government approach of the federal government to:

• reset the relationship of the Métis Nation and its economic development corporations with the Business Development Bank Canada (BDC) to ensure an equitable part of BDC Aboriginal Business funding is invested in Métis Nation economic development corporations;

• extend federal small business loan guarantees to loans made by Métis capital corporations and economic development funds to their clients;

• expand the capital base of Métis Nation equity capital providers;

• expand and strengthen the federal procurement strategy and tools to include mandatory minimum Indigenous content requirements in larger federal procurements;

• establish a federal policy framework to encourage companies in the federally regulated sector to adopt Indigenous procurement policies to support Métis Nation business development; and

• expand the scope of work under the Strategy to include Métis Nation initiatives on clean growth and housing.

Delegates also considered the prospect of convening a fourth Métis Economic Development Symposium (MEDS IV) including the five westernmost provinces and industry representatives to advance development of the Métis Nation Economic Development Strategy.

The Special Sitting of the General Assembly, March 18 – 19, 2017, took up the task of defining the nation-to-nation relationship being pursued by the Trudeau government with the Métis Nation. MNC President Chartier elaborated on the critical elements of this new relationship in his keynote address. Delegates also reviewed the draft Canada-Métis Nation Agreement to Advance Reconciliation which is expected to be signed by the Prime Minister and Métis Nation leadership at the upcoming Métis Nation-Crown Summit on April 13, 2017. The MNC Governing Members provided updates on their regional tables on section 35 rights and claims resolution.

Delegates also reviewed another key part of the new relationship with Ottawa, the inclusion of the Métis Nation in climate change and clean growth planning with the federal and provincial governments. Kathy Hodgson-Smith and Kyle Vermette provided delegates with an update on activities since the Prime Minister and President Chartier signed a joint statement following the meeting of First Ministers and leaders of the MNC, AFN and ITK on December 9, 2016, and launched a process for ongoing engagement on clean growth and climate change.

The Assembly adopted a resolution to jointly establish with Canada a Canada-Metis Nation Table on Climate Change for the purposes of ensuring full, meaningful and leadership engagement in the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Strategy on Climate Change.

President Chartier also informed delegates that the MNC Board of Governors has set the date for the MNC General Assembly for April 28-29, 2017 in Winnipeg, with the election of national President on April 28.

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