President's Message - August 03, 2023

August 3, 2023

Economic development advancements

As President of the MMF and as Minister Responsible for Economic Development, I take the long-term financial security of your Red River Métis National Government very seriously. You have given me the responsibility for driving the economic initiatives that will allow your government to deliver and expand on the programs and services that support the well-being of Red River Métis Citizens.

In March of 2023, the MMF completed an Economic Impact study of MMF core operations and programming. It covered a four-year period from 2018-2019 to 2021-2022. The MMF generated a total economic impact of $479.1 million, which does not include the work of our affiliates.

To give you a sense of what these numbers mean for Canadians, for every job created at the MMF, another job is created within the Canadian economy. Each dollar the MMF spends on direct activities generates between $2 and $2.50 within the general economy.

Through your Red River Métis Government, you own well over 160 properties, with an assessed value of nearly $65 million, in over 30 municipalities. These proprieties include Citizen housing, commercial developments, spaces to deliver programs and services, governance offices, child care facilities, and more.

The investments I mention here do not even account for the economic supports we provide to Citizens through education and home-buying programs, or the support we've been able to deliver to Red River Métis entrepreneurs. We estimate that there are over 1,000 Red River Métis businesses in Manitoba, with another estimated 1,500 in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Our entrepreneurs are the backbone of the Red River Métis economy just as they were in the historic Northwest before the birth of Canada. We continue to invest in initiatives that support our Nation's entrepreneurial spirit. For example, during the height of the pandemic, the MMF and its affiliates provided financial support to over 900 Red River Métis entrepreneurs and businesses.

The Louis Riel Capital Corporation continues to provide support to Red River Métis-owned businesses. I encourage every entrepreneur to visit our business directory found on the LRCC website so that you too can use Red River Métis-owned businesses. This model of supporting community-based businesses works and allows each Citizen to do their part to contribute to our Nation's economic strength and well-being.

In addition to this, the Government of Canada and the MMF jointly announced funding of $4 million from Canada and $2 million provided by the MMF for Métis Economic and Community Development. This funding will deliver distinct, results-driven, and location-based Red River Métis economic and community development activities, including business advisory services, community engagement activities, sectoral expertise, and pathfinding opportunities for Red River Métis businesses and entrepreneurs.

We have been hard at work setting up a business development support model for our entrepreneurs, including Youth and those interested in becoming entrepreneurs. There are now eight Economic and Community Development Officers in place. Our goal with this support model is to place an emphasis on increasing Red River Métis participation in the economy through entrepreneurship development, business growth, and labour market participation. These officers will deliver economic initiatives for Citizens and act as leads in various sectors of the economy.

The return on Canada's investment in your Red River Métis government is significant. For example, the MMF alone generated more than $65 million in tax revenue between 2018 and 2022. This shows that funding investments bring a significant rate of return for the Canadian economy - largely thanks to hardworking Red River Métis Citizens. The revenue generated allows us to reinvest in programs and services in healthcare, early childhood education, and our first-time homebuyers' program - all of which focus on the well-being of Citizens.

There are additional Red River Métis economic strategies being developed that we look forward to communicating with you about in the next six months. Just like our people's interest in entrepreneurship, our investments into economic development span a wide range of areas, including traditional economies (trapping and artisanship); commercial fishing; forestry; mining and critical minerals; agriculture; tourism and hospitality; manufacturing/aerospace and defence; and creative industries (film, music, and digital media).

Investing in Traditional Economies

 Revitalizing traditional economies, where our people have historically been active economic drivers, remains a priority for us. Many Citizens are already familiar with our work in creating the Red River Métis Fur Company. In the first eight months, more than $125,000 was spent on 2,350 furs bought from 73 Red River Métis trappers. The intention is to supply furs to Red River Métis artists for leatherwork and other artistic endeavours and to sell more furs on the open market. Sustainable harvesting of fur is not only good for the economy, but it also keeps ecosystems in balance, so that we avoid the destruction that can come from an overabundance of one animal or another in our environment.

Our artists and artisans are already seeing the benefit of our efforts to revive the artisanal beading and crafting work. The MMF has bought over $220,000 in products from over 70 Red River Métis artists, including beadworks, leatherworks, paintings, woodworks, designer clothing, etc. We have already sold over $100,000 of their products through our affiliate retail company and other pop-up markets throughout 2022-23.

Commercial fishing practices have been handed down from generation to generation within many Red River Métis families. Through our Traditional Economies Ministry, led by Minister Darrel Ferland, we are developing a commercial fisheries strategy.

By championing a "lake to plate" approach to a fisheries strategy, we are staying consistent with our holistic view of all our economic endeavours. This allows us to see the bigger picture when looking for new opportunities or exploring new markets.

Don't forget that your Red River Métis-owned Lake Manitoba Resort is opening mid-August. We have made major investments in this campsite and golf course including a new irrigation system, new greens, and a new, fully stocked Pro Shop. We are accepting applications for our new Phase One Campground, which feature large lots and include full sewer and water hook-ups. Now is an exciting time to make Lake Manitoba Resort your summer camping destination. Sites are leased annually and you can even leave your camper at your site over the winter. All you have to do is select your campsite and get ready for a beautiful summer.

The revenue generated from projects like this are reinvested into Citizens, and the future well-being of our government. The message from our Elders has stayed the same - please create a bright and prosperous future for our Youth.

Celebrating the accomplishments of our Youth

As many of you know, our Youth recently took part in the 10th annual North American Indigenous Games, which took place from July 15-23 in Nova Scotia. Richard Genaille, our Minister of Sports & Youth, was there to honour all our Red River Métis athletes and cheer them on as they competed for medals.

There were over 5,000 athletes, coaches, and team staff from more than 756 Indigenous Nations represented at the games. More than 125 Red River Métis athletes, proudly representing their Homeland, brought home a total of 43 medals in sports like baseball, volleyball, track and field, swimming, wrestling, golf, canoe/kayak, badminton, and more.

I am proud of each of our young Citizens who trained hard and competed with the honour and fighting spirit of the Red River Métis. Make sure you check out the photo spread from the games in this edition of Le Métis.

Until we gather, I offer my prayers to all our Citizens, friends, and neighbours, and my deepest condolences to those who have been caused to grieve.



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