Environment & Climate Change

Minister: JoAnne Remillard
Associate Minister: Peter Fleming

Environment

Historically the Métis have been deeply connected to the lands, waters, and environment which lie within the National Homeland of the Red River Métis. Contemporarily many Métis Citizens work closely within, and rely heavily on, our environment to provide a livelihood, sustenance, and the ability to practice traditional Métis culture. Your Métis Government understands the importance of protecting and conserving our traditional territory and beyond. It is imperative the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) works to ensure our environment is protected for ourselves and future generations. Without a healthy, sustainable environment, it is not possible to continue many of our traditional social and economic practices or exercise our Métis rights.

The Ministers responsible for the Environment & Climate Change Portfolio will continue to establish and explore traditional methods of stewardship undertaken by our ancestors to cultivate a future that allows for the continued and lasting culture of the Red River Métis across the National Homeland. Your Métis Government has the unique opportunity to bridge the generational divide between the traditional practices of our Elders and the adaptive and innovative perspectives of our Youth to ensure that together, the prosperity of our Nation is upheld, and our environment is protected. We are committed to working collaboratively to ensure our rights are upheld, and all issues concerning the environment are given the utmost attention. With this in mind, the Environment & Climate Change Portfolio, through the MMF's Energy, Infrastructure & Resource Management Department, is working on several environment-related fi les, including the following:

Federal Carbon Pricing Backstop

The federal government implemented carbon pricing in Manitoba on April 1, 2019, beginning at a rate of $20/tonne increasing by $10/tonne annually until it reaches $50/tonne by 2022. Of these revenues, 90% will be returned to individuals through taxation, while 10% will be distributed through programs to help small businesses, schools, universities, and Indigenous communities pursue environmental initiatives.

Your Métis Government is currently working with Canada on the allocation of funding on this project. Initial objectives will include work on the MMF's Community Based Climate Monitoring Program, the creation of a Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Plan to better prepare our community for climate change impacts, and emergency response and disaster management planning related to fl ooding, forest fi res, and food security.

Red River Métis Climate Adaptation & Resiliency Plan

The MMF, utilizing the funding commitment from the federal carbon backstop, will support Red River Métis climate change adaptation and resiliency priorities with a focus on the current and future impacts of climate change, the development of a recommendations report on key climate change issues - such as impacts to health, harvesting practices, and other culturally significant practices that may experience impacts - while also supporting land-based traditional knowledge education.

Food security, emergency management, disaster mitigation, fostering intergenerational relationships between our Elders and Youth, as well as our Youth and Harvesters providing educational and skills developing opportunities remain key priorities for this Portfolio.

We are always looking for interested Métis Citizens, Elders, Youth, and Harvesters who want to be involved in environment and climate change-related programming. For more information on MMF Environment and Climate Change programming, please contact Marci Riel via email at marci.riel@mmf.mb.ca.

Métis Youth Boreal Forest Stewardship Program (Guardians)

The MMF's Métis Youth Boreal Forest Stewardship Program, which is funded under a commitment through Environment and Climate Change Canada's Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program, is just one of the MMF's environmental initiatives. The program aims to develop training and educational opportunities in environmental stewardship and conservation work, eventually leading to both direct and indirect skills development and employment opportunities.

A field event involving Elders, Harvesters, and Youth was held in the Kettle Hills of MMF's Northwest Region in August of 2021. Stewardship of the area was top priority. The MMF maintained and cleaned up access trails to ensure safe access for Red River Métis Citizens, and assessed the prevalence of blueberry species, blueberry competition, and blueberry regeneration after forest fi res using vegetation quadrat surveys.

Key focus areas for the program include wildlife and ecosystem conservation/management, educational programming and training, community resiliency planning (e.g., food security), and habitat restoration (e.g., tree planting and other environmental stewardship).

For more information on the Métis Youth Boreal Forest Stewardship Program, please contact Tayler Fleming via email at tayler.fleming@mmf.mb.ca.

Métis Community-Based Climate Monitoring Program

Our Red River Métis Government's Community-Based Climate Monitoring Program is funded through Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. This monitoring program currently has dedicated Red River Métis Citizen Scientists collecting valuable climate data and will work closely with the Boreal Forest Stewardship Program, Métis Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow, and the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program.

Currently, the department has a monitoring application called Survey 1,2,3, where Red River Métis Citizen Scientists are conducting environmental monitoring and collecting valuable climate data. Our Red River Métis Government is growing our Community-Based Climate Monitoring Program through the purchase of weather stations in partnership with the Centre for Earth Observation Science at the University of Manitoba. These weather stations have been deployed in St. Laurent (Interlake Region) and Dawson Bay (The Pas Region).

They are always looking for interested Red River Métis Citizens who want to be involved in climate monitoring or to house a weather station on their lakefront property. If you would like more information or are interested in these programs, please contact our Water Resources Specialist, Phoenix Combe, at phoenix.combe@mmf.mb.ca.

Visit https://geoconnections.ad.umanitoba.ca/d/JbY1plZ7z/st-laurent-mb-weather-dashboard?orgId=2&refresh=1m&kiosk to view the St Laurent Weather Station Data Link.

Visit https://geoconnections.ad.umanitoba.ca/d/HX66kVc7k/dawson-bay-mb-weather-dashboard?orgId=2&kiosk&refresh=30s to view the Dawson Bay Weather Station Data Link.

Métis Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow (MELT)

Staff from the Energy, Infrastructure & Resource Management Department secured a 5-year funding agreement during the 2020/21 year to provide land-based education focusing on climate action and environmental stewardship for Métis Youth, ranging from kindergarten to Grade 12. In summer of 2021, MELT ran a series of canoe day trips from Winnipeg to Matlock on Lake Winnipeg from July 12-16. Fourteen Youth participated in the canoe trip over the 5 days, paddling a total of 70-km on the Red River and into Lake Winnipeg. On the trip, Métis Youth learned about the environment, climate change, water safety, paddling, as well as morning lessons on greetings and introductions in Michif. Plans for 2022 will work to expand this type of programming in order to offer it throughout the province.

Through these types of camps, MELT seeks to educate Youth on the impacts of climate change, while providing educational programming on how environmental stewardship and Métis Traditional Knowledge can lead to positive climate action they can take back and impart on their communities. MELT is working on fall and winter plans to engage more Youth on these topics.

MELT is always looking for interested Métis Youth who want to be involved in environment and climate change-related programming, as well as interested Elders and Traditional Knowledge Holders who would like to work with Youth. If you would like more information or are interested in participating, please contact our MELT Coordinator, Amber Chambers, by phone at (204) 725-7520, or by email at amber.chambers@mmf.mb.ca.

Water Monitoring and Aquatic Ecosystem Health

The Red River Métis have always been very connected to water, for drinking, commercial and recreational fishing, and in using rivers for transportation. Water quality is consistently identified as a main priority of Citizens during community meetings, Traditional Knowledge interviews, outreach surveys, and consultation discussions.

  1. Lake Winnipeg Basin Program: Our Red River Métis Government's Community-Based Water Monitoring Program focuses on the Lake Winnipeg Basin and is funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada until 2023. The MMF has been monitoring phosphorus and salinity concentrations in the Lake Winnipeg Basin over the past three years with the help of dedicated Red River Métis Citizen Scientists. To supplement this scientific data, the MMF conducted a Traditional Knowledge study to determine any changes in the Lake Winnipeg Basin, and the resulting impacts for our Citizens. This program has expanded by increasing the number of Red River Métis Citizen Scientists and creating new partnerships; this includes a collaboration with the Centre for Earth Observation Science on the Weather Keeper Program. We are looking for a Red River Métis graduate student to compile and analyze the climate data we have collected.
  2. Water Testing in Red River Métis Locals: The MMF has begun an initiative to test drinking water in the Locals in each of the seven Regions. The goal of this water testing initiative is to identify and highlight any issues with the water our Citizens consume, and share these results with the Locals and Regions for follow-up by the MMF. Your Métis Government has prioritized ensuring our Citizens have access to clean drinking water, and is also testing water at treatment plants, lakes, streams, and other waterbodies. We are looking forward to working with the Local Chairs and their Regions to ensure our Citizens are consuming clean freshwater and encourage Locals to contact our Water Resources Specialist for more information or to make arrangements to have their water tested.
  3. Cross-Boundary Water Relations: Our Red River Métis Government has been involved with the International Joint Commission (IJC) on transboundary discussions on waterways crossing the United States and Canada. The IJC is currently looking at strategies to incorporate Indigenous representatives on their various watershed boards. Our Red River Métis Government attended many virtual and in-person meetings on the International Souris River Board and International Red River Board this past year. Our continued involvement ensures that the IJC engages with the MMF on behalf of the Red River Métis.

If you would like more information or are interested in these programs, please contact our Water Resources Specialist, Phoenix Combe, at phoenix.combe@mmf.mb.ca.

Mineral Exploration

The MMF continues to follow up with New Age Metals Inc. and the Province seeking information and meaningful engagement related to proposed Lithium Mine Exploration Projects in Nopiming Provincial Park. While New Age Metals signed an exploration agreement with Sagkeeng First Nation, the MMF was never notified by the Proponent or the Crown and has not had the opportunity to discuss the benefits of the project for the Red River Métis.

The MMF is awaiting further information from the province of Manitoba regarding other mineral exploration permits and technical level staff are meeting with the province to address the continued lack of appropriate notification or information on these projects. Your Métis Government continues to push Manitoba for a more meaningful consultation process on these and other projects.

Tundra Oil and Gas License Application

The MMF received notifi cation from the Province of a Tundra Oil and Gas well exploration application near St. Lazare and the ElliceArchie Community Pasture. MMF staff met with provincial officials to discuss the project as well as the process of consultation between Manitoba Growth, Enterprise, and Trade and the MMF regarding oil and gas license application files.

Sherridon Mine

The Manitoba Métis Federation has engaged with the citizens of the Cold Lake Local and others who use the area for harvesting and commercial activities to discuss concerns from the community on the remediation of Camp Lake and the work being done by Manitoba onsite. The site is considered an orphaned and abandoned mine and Manitoba is responsible for the monitoring of the site and the impacts of the site on the land and water around it.

The draining of Camp Lake into Kississing Lake resulted in an orange discolouration of the water due to increased iron content which led to staining of Citizens' boats and raising immense concern around the impacts on local tourism business in Sherridon. The MMF has engaged a team of technical experts to test the water in the two lakes, to review the results of Manitoba's monitoring program and recommend a process that will address the impacts of the project. The MMF continues to undertake traditional knowledge, land use, and occupancy studies of Citizens and harvesters who live in or use the area impacted by the remediation efforts. Your Métis government will also continue to work toward a solution that involves a commitment on the part of the federal and provincial authorities to appropriately mitigate the impacts of the work that has been done.

Lynn Lake Gold Mine - Alamos Gold

Alamos Gold Inc. has proposed the construction, operation, decommissioning, and reclamation of an open pit gold mine and new metal mill located near Lynn Lake, Manitoba. The Lynn Lake Gold Project would involve the redevelopment of two historical gold mines (the Gordon site and MacLellan site) and have an ore input capacity of 8,000 tonnes per day over an 11-year period. Components of the project would include new mine infrastructure, open pits, an access road, a central ore milling and processing plant, ore stockpiles and mine rock storage areas, and a tailings management facility.

This project is subject to a federal environmental assessment and Canada identifi ed the MMF as being highly affected by the project. The Energy & Infrastructure portfolio will be reporting further on the environmental licensing aspect of this Project and the economic development opportunities that are being explored with Métis N4 Construction.

Three years later, the Project is currently undergoing environmental assessment and is receiving information requests from various departments to address information gaps in the Project Proposal. The MMF has received capacity funding to participate in this process, and ensure consultants review technical level concerns and appropriately consider specifi c issues raised through our Traditional Knowledge and Land Use Study. We are currently moving forward on the economic development opportunities that will come from the re-opening of the mine sites and the employment and training opportunities for our Citizens.

We are always looking for input, comments, questions, and concerns from Métis Citizens who are directly or indirectly impacted by mining projects underway in the local community or within the areas that have traditionally been used for harvesting. If you would like more information about mining projects in Manitoba, please contact Marci Riel via email: marci.riel@mmf.mb.ca.

B300-150 Henry Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B 0J7

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