In response to the call for Manitoba residents’ input on provincial pre-budget consultations, the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) is urging Métis Citizens across the province to engage with the Government of Manitoba and provide a Métis perspective on where your hard earned tax dollars should be invested. Among the many areas of high importance to the Manitoba Métis, the MMF has identified four high-level areas for Métis Citizens to bring forward as possible discussion topics: Education, Health Care, Sustainable Development, and Housing.

The Métis Perspective


Education

Education is an important concern for many of our Métis Youth and their families. The population of Métis Youth is one of the fastest growing sectors in Manitoba; meaning access to education is a growing demand that will continue to increase. With rising tuition costs and lack of appropriate funds for tuition and related expenses many Metis families experience difficulties helping their children meet their education and training needs.

With education being the 2nd highest expenditure for the Manitoba provincial government in 2016, we must see a better and more specific investment in our Métis Youth’s education. More education opportunities will result in higher employment rates leading to a solid economy and stronger Métis families and villages.

In conjunction with this, there needs to be a focus on more Métis programming in primary and secondary schools as well as post-secondary institutions that recognize and honour our Métis contribution to the founding and building of the province of Manitoba. The Métis are Canada’s negotiating partners in Confederation and will continue to be partners well into the future.

Will the provincial government commit to a dedicated fund for Métis that will adequately provide them opportunities to gain the skills and training required to successfully enter the workforce? What would that fund look like, what will be the initial investment be and will the government invest in this fund each year an amount that adequately meets the needs of our Métis Citizens?

Will the provincial government address the need for more Métis-focused programming in schools and post-secondary institutions by adding Métis-specific educational materials to school and post-secondary curricula?

Health Care

Being a Métis caregiver has become a challenge. The Manitoba Metis Federation Health & Wellness Department Annual Report done in 2016 noted finding a lack of financial support for: transportation, homecare workers, meals, medical equipment and other areas important to Métis health care and care workers. In another report “Profile of Metis Health Status And Healthcare Utilization In Manitoba: A Population-Based Study”written by the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy with the full participation of the Manitoba Metis Federation, showed Métis Citizens are nearly 35% more likely to have diabetes than any other Manitobans. Métis Citizens in Manitoba also have the highest mortality rate compared to other Manitobans.

Ensuring the Métis in Manitoba have greater access to healthcare and culturally sensitive and appropriate health programs such as more pharmacies, more medical facilities, and affordable, high-quality prescriptions, just to name a few, is a priority. We must put in place such measures to deal with these alarming health issues affecting our Métis families.

The mortality rate of the Manitoba Métis is higher than all other Manitobans, indicating a need for greater access to health care services for Métis Citizens. Will the provincial government set in place specific and culturally appropriate programs and services for the Métis in Manitoba to improve their healthcare outcomes?

Métis caregivers are a vital part of providing quality health care for Métis Elders and family members who are ill, including helping them travel to and receive necessary medical treatment. In what ways will the provincial government improve supports for Métis caregivers who provide this tremendously important service and care for the Manitoba Métis who are ill?


Sustainable Development

As hardworking taxpayers, the Métis have an interest in developing meaningful economic opportunities. Climate change is affecting our traditional way of life by impacting the environment, changing the makeup of the ecosystems including the numbers of fish and wildlife in our province. These changes – our new reality – will also impact our traditional transportation routes and access to our villages, hunting and fishing territories. For example, while the port at Churchill will become virtually ice free, the melting of permafrost has already severely affected the rail line and the villages that depend upon them. The same is also happening to our winter roads as the climate changes. These changes will surely affect economic development opportunities for Manitoba’s Métis.

Closely related to sustainable development is how we manage our traditional resources. For example, our Métis fishers make up a majority of the provincial fishing industry, and their families and communities rely on the lakes’ sustainability and income made in the fishery. In developing strategies that affect sustainable development, our experience, and knowledge as Metis harvesters and workers on the land must be considered. The Métis must be consulted meaningfully for any provincial government decision-making and actions before these are made.

Our tax dollars must be invested in ways that will conserve and protect our way of life for future generations to come. For example, sustainable procurement offers the chance for integrated environmental and economic strategies. This is often referred to as the Green Economy. Green procurement can help create local jobs with environmental sustainability. As hardworking taxpayers, the Manitoba Métis welcome the opportunity for meaningful partnerships with the province and others in advancing sustainable initiatives in Manitoba. We must also invest in green technology for economic opportunities and environmental sustainability.

As climate change is an important issue affecting the traditional lifestyle of the Métis and their ability to connect to the global community, how will the Manitoba provincial government ensure our resources and ability to thrive are protected for future generations?

With issues facing the sustainability of lakes and wildlife in Manitoba, how will the Manitoba provincial government dedicate resources to ensure Métis harvesting and fishing rights are not negatively impacted?

Housing

Access to affordable, high-quality housing is crucial for helping ensure the stability and success for Métis Citizens and all Manitobans. Affordable housing allows families to maintain a good quality of life, hold jobs, and put down roots. Good housing for families is a key investment for bringing about better health, education, and economic conditions. Affordable housing in our communities establishes a strong, stable foundation for all families to ensure our children grow healthy, happy and secure.

Affordable housing provides families the opportunity to a stable, healthy and happy living environment. How will the provincial government invest in creating more affordable housing opportunities for the Manitoba Métis?

Will the provincial government commit to working with the Manitoba Metis Federation, the self-governing representative of Manitoba’s Métis, by partnering with and investing in Métis-specific initiatives of the MMF?


Click here to read the MMF Press Release - Métis Perspective on Government of Manitoba Pre-Budget Consultations.

Click here to find your MLA and address information.

Click here to visit Government of Manitoba's Online Citizen Budget learning tool.


How do I get involved?


For more information please feel free to contact the Manitoba Metis Federation at info@mmf.mb.ca or by telephone at (204) 586-8474.