While the Métis Nation of Alberta, the Métis Nation of Ontario and the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan already have well-established provincial governance structures, the agreements signed today focus on the recognition of Métis jurisdiction in the central areas of governance (citizenship, leadership selection and government operations). They also set out procedures for negotiating other agreements that will look at other areas of jurisdiction in the future. On June 27, 2019, after more than 90 years of perseverance and struggle, the Alberta Métis Nation (MNA) signed the first autonomy agreement between the Canadian government and a Métis government. “Wow. I just want to say that it`s a great day. This is truly a historic day,” said Audrey Poitras, President of the Métis Nation of Alberta. “It is no exaggeration to say that the agreements signed today are something we have been fighting for for almost a century. After all, Canada has recognized our right to autonomy. These discussions may also be aimed at addressing long-standing issues that are not covered by existing contract or self-management negotiations. This type of dialogue is open to all Aboriginal groups with section 35 rights to address long-standing issues that may not fall within the scope of other federal policies. President Froh added, “From our quest for Métis rights to the Supreme Court of Canada at R.
v. Powley in 2003 until the passage of the MNO Act by Ontario legislation in 2015, our citizens and communities have always been united in the desire to protect and preserve our unique history, culture and identity for future generations. With this agreement, we have found a way forward to do so. “Our Métis citizens and communities will face the exciting challenge of developing a 21st century government that is authentic, visionary, responsive and accountable that will serve our citizens and communities for future generations,” said Margaret Froh, President of the Métis Nation of Ontario. Margaret Froh, President of the MNO, the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario and Carolyn Bennett, Canada`s Minister of Crown-Aboriginal Relations, signed the agreement. They were joined by other Métis leaders, youth and alumni from Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, with the Métis Nation of Alberta and Métis Nation-Saskatchewan signing similar agreements. These were the first Métis self-administration agreements in Canada. The agreements give Metis jurisdiction in key areas of governance – citizenship, leadership selection and government operations. The agreements also give these Métis states the opportunity to develop their own laws and design constitutions to govern their communities. President Froh paid an explicit tribute to the work and efforts of Métis citizens and local and regional leaders to form the backbone of MNO`s autonomy and the MNO Provisional Council and negotiating team. She also paid tribute to former MNO Presidents Tony Belcourt and Gary Lipinski for their unwavering commitment to Métis rights and autonomy. “It was a team effort from start to finish,” Froh said.
These agreements confirm the Métis right to self-management and recognize the mandates of the Métis Nation of Alberta, the Métis Nation of Ontario and the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan.