Constitution, Métis Rights, Metis Nation Agenda & Governance

Minister Judy Mayer

These are exciting times as the department continues forward with providing responsible and accountable governance to Métis Citizens. Last Annual General Assembly (AGA), Local leaders were provided with a package of proposed amendments to the Constitution that will be voted on at this AGA.

Identity

The Red River Métis are in the middle of a turning point. Across eastern Canada, Métis identity is being misappropriated and stolen from us. What is happening right now is Métis identity theft at an unprecedented level.

People in Eastern Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes are attempting to use the MMF's recent legal and political successes to assert their own rights and receive benefits. Many of these people may have legitimate claims to being Indigenous, but simply put - they are not us and we are not them. It took The Red River Métis decades in the courts and nearly 150 years of struggle to get the recognition.

It is known that the Métis Nation was born in the Red River. The Métis flag was first unfurled here. The beautiful prairie flower beadwork has its roots here, as does Michif. It can only be found here. The Red River Métis formed a unique identity here in the Red River and those in Mattawa and Toronto cannot say the same.

Despite this distinct history and culture, the Presidents of Métis Nation of Alberta, Métis Nation- Saskatchewan, and Métis Nation British Columbia are willing to be accomplices and support the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) and sell out the Métis Nation. Now that the Métis National Council has become a pan-aboriginal organization by allowing MNO to remain a governing member, the MMF once again stands alone as the last defender of the Nation.

Though this has been a disheartening struggle, one that was forced upon the MMF by the other governing members, this is an important opportunity to shape history, build a new vision, and stand for the Métis Nation. At the 2019 AGA, our Citizens provided us with the direction to withdraw ourselves from the Métis National Council (MNC) should the MNO be allowed to remain a member with full rights of the MNC. It is with this guidance that the MMF was forced to withdraw from the MNC and assert itself as the sole national voice for the true Métis Nation.

This is a responsibility that is not taken lightly. Moving forward, your Métis Government will continue to remain dedicated to defending the Métis Nation and standing strong for what we truly believe in. Regardless of where Red River Métis Citizens reside, if they are one of us then we are here to stand strong and protect their rights as well as political, social, and economic interests.

Locals

Traditionally, the Métis Nation has heavily emphasized grassroots participation and using the wisdom of our Citizens to guide our elected representatives as we move forward on major issues. Strong, active Locals are critical to fulfilling this vision and as such, three resolutions are being brought forward to better equip our Locals with the constitutional tools to strengthen your Métis Government.

One of these proposed amendments is to give Locals the ability to separate the secretary and treasurer positions. MMF Citizens have emphasized that splitting this position into two is critical for large Locals, as the responsibilities of the Secretary-Treasurer have increased, and they require more support. This amendment will prove beneficial as the Locals continue to expand in terms of both Citizens and activities in their community.

In another resolution, your Métis Government is also looking to formalize the definition of an "Active Local" to set the universal standard for what the MMF defines as an Active Local.

These two resolutions constitute further steps in enhancing our democracy. Over the coming years there will be consultations with Local leaders and Citizens of the MMF on what is needed to further strengthen our democratic foundations as your Métis Government.

Elections

Democracy is a fundamental value of the Métis Nation. Since the days of the buffalo hunt, Métis have held elections where our Community comes together and selects the Captain of each buffalo hunt. The MMF has remained a protector of the democratic rights of our Citizens. Whether it be participating in the federal, provincial, municipal, or Métis Government elections, we want to encourage all to fulfill their role and participate in the democratic process.

With your Métis Government preparing for an election in 2022, several resolutions were prepared to make necessary tweaks to current MMF Elections By-Laws. These small changes are things that have been actively practiced in the past, but never formally made part of our Constitution. Please see below a list of elections-related resolutions that are being brought forward this year:

  • Defining "Polling Station"

  • Defining "Deputy Returning Officer"

  • Drafting a preliminary List of Electors

  • Appointing a Regional Returning Officer

  • Appointing a Chief Electoral Officer

  • Calling of an Election

  • Compiling a List of Electors

  • Not allowing Additions to Voters List the Day of Election

  • Specifying that Only Electors are Entitled to Vote

  • Establishing a Duty to Appoint Election Officials

  • Implementing the Qualification of Candidates

Inclusivity

As your Métis Government continues to grow and evolve, it must also stay current with the times. With this in mind, two resolutions were proposed to support making the Constitution Gender Neutral and allow for Citizens to identify as gender neutral on their Métis Government documents.

During the events of 1869-70, Louis Riel and the Provisional Government submitted the Bill of Rights as the foundation of the negotiations that eventually led to the Manitoba Act. It is because of our Ancestors' efforts that the French language is constitutionally protected in the province the Red River Métis created.

In the spirit of getting back to Métis roots, an AGA resolution was introduced to have our French language version of the MMF name.

As the government of the Red River Métis, the MMF not only recognizes, but emphasizes the importance of ensuring the ability of Citizens to participate in the exercising of their rights in a manner that is inclusive and welcoming.

Governance

As the responsible Minister, Minister Judy Mayer is the chair of the Governance Committee that includes the participation of her fellow Ministers, Leah LaPlante and Julyda Lagimodiere. They provide hands-on direction to staff and advice to President Chartrand and the Cabinet on key governance matters.

President Chartrand took the lead on the Manitoba Métis Self-Government Recognition and Implementation Agreement. This was signed by Canada's Crown Indigenous Relations Minister, Carolyn Bennett, on July 6, 2021. With the signing of this document, the MMF is recognized as the existing government of the Red River Métis, also known as the Manitoba Métis - the origin and home of the Métis Nation. Along with this immediate recognition, it is also agreed that the MMF representsthe Red River Métis regardless of where they now call home.

We are entering a new era as the MMF asserts itself as the national voice and protector of the Red River Métis. This national responsibility is taken very seriously, as well as the commitment to continuing to evolve and adapt our institutions of governance to the everchanging political and legal landscape that is unfolding around us.

This is a historic turning point of our nation-to-nation and government-to government relationship with the federal government. Our negotiators are working with Canada to protect this agreement in a Modern-Day Treaty as well as the working to settle the historic Land Claim.

Summary

If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact Minister Judy Mayer at the Pas Office. Included is a copy of the Manitoba Métis Self-Government Recognition and Implementation Agreement and a backgrounder to help highlight critical parts of the agreement. These truly are exciting and historic times for the MMF, and Minister Mayer would like to thank her fellow Governance Committee members, Ministers LaPlante and Lagimodiere, for their hard work and dedication to moving this portfolio forward. The constitution is a document that is meant to evolve alongside the ever-changing political and legal landscape.

Minister Mayer would also like to extend her sincerest gratitude to all the Citizens who participate in our governance system, from Local executives to all who participate in our consultations, Regional meetings, and AGA, and expresses her conviction that the dedication of our grassroots is exactly what our Ancestors envisioned all those years ago.

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

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