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President’s Corner

by ahnationtalk on April 19, 202443 Views

Apr 19, 2024

Dear Citizens,

As the spring season unfolds, it brings with it a time of renewal and growth, much like the progress and development we’ve seen within our Otipemisiwak Métis Government over the course of the last eight months. I am pleased to share with you the latest updates and milestones as we continue to advance the rights and interests of Métis in Alberta.

Update on Bill C-53

Over the past 10 months, we have been focused on our advocacy regarding Bill C-53. Our team has been actively involved in discussions with politicians and with the Indigenous and Northern Affairs committee to ensure that the legislation reflects the genuine needs of the Métis people. Along with our partner governments Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S) and Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO), we made substantial progress. Recently, however, the MN-S made the decision to embark on a different path to its self-government recognition, and we fully respect their choice.

Unfortunately, because of extreme delays caused by Canada throughout this process, combined with the MN-S decision, the future of Bill C-53 is now uncertain. I want to be clear, our Nation would not be in this position today if Canada had historically and honourably recognized our people, communities, and governments. Reconciliation with us is a constitutional imperative and our self-government agreements, legislative recognition, and the treaties we are negotiating with Canada are the only way forward.

Given the overwhelming support we have from our Citizens and communities to finally have our government recognized, we will continue to push the federal government to ensure the Crown lives up its commitments made to us in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Canada must stop the delaying tactics and do the right thing.

Regardless of the legislation, the self-government agreement we signed with Canada in February 2023 set out a clear path to finally put in place a nation-to-nation, government-to-government modern treaty with us. We will hold Canada to that legally binding promise and continue to aggressively pursue those discussions on a government-to-government basis.

Nothing has ever come easy to the Métis, and this journey to self-government is no different. Finally securing our rightful place in the Canadian federation means too much to our Citizens and communities to allow for this colonial process to deter us from achieving the dreams of our ancestors and aspirations of future generations of the Alberta Métis.

Advancing the MNA Treaty Negotiations

I am happy to report that we have been making significant strides in our negotiations for an MNA Modern Treaty. Our negotiation team has been hard at work, and I am pleased to report we are well on our way to having a draft Self-Government Treaty. This will be a monumental step in our journey, and your input will be crucial in shaping the final treaty.

In addition to negotiating our Self-Government Treaty with Canada, we are actively engaged in negotiations to advance other commitments in our 2023 Self-Government Agreement, including identifying a process to deal with Métis claims such as Métis scrip as well as a long-term Fiscal Financing Agreement to support our self-government.

Transition, Community Engagement, and Upcoming Events

I am pleased to inform you that new District Council bylaws have been approved in-principle for 11 Districts. Those Locals will be consulting with their members and calling special meetings to decide whether and how they want to move forward.

I am also excited to share that we are planning number of spring and summer events. These gatherings will bring our community together in the spirit of collaboration and friendship. Please keep an eye on our website and social media channels for further details. I encourage everyone to participate and contribute to these community-building initiatives.

Looking Ahead

As we move forward, our focus remains on achieving tangible results for our people. The progress on the MNA Modern Treaty negotiations is a pivotal milestone that marks our journey towards self-determination and ultimately, our future prosperity.

Thank you for your continued support and faith in our government.

Andrea Sandmaier
President
Otipemisiwak Métis Government

NT5

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