President's Message - December 2, 2020

December 2, 2020

We are officially in the final stretch leading up to the Holiday season and the New Year. For many, this time of year brings excitement and joy as we traditionally make plans to see family and attend gatherings. For others, this time of year brings about feelings of being overwhelmed and burnt out.

While the Holiday season means different things for different people, we are all in the midst of the greatest economic and mental health crisis that we have ever experienced. This, coupled with the pressures that we all face during this season, could have major consequences on the well-being of all.

This year will be especially hard on everyone as gatherings are in limbo and may not be possible. With the ability to gather in the traditional sense going by the wayside, addressing the mental health of Canadians needs to be a primary priority for all governments, as it is with your Métis Government.

Traditionally, Métis families value being able to gather and work together, and we recognize that this time of year can bring about many unique challenges. Beyond just the inability to gather, we are facing the many challenges from this pandemic such as underemployment, the terrible hardships of losing loved ones coupled with the inability to visit loved ones in care homes or hospitals, all while ensuring the children in our families are safe and supported.

It is significant at all times, but especially during the holiday season and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, that we recognize the importance of taking care of our health and the well-being of those around us. Keeping your mind and body happy and healthy reduces anxieties - which are typically higher than normal at this time of year - and promotes improved relationships with others and yourself.

We need to remember that we are in this together and many are facing similar challenges. With social gatherings being all but eliminated from our routines and our holiday traditions looking different, we can often forget the importance of having that human interaction. While we know broadband connectivity needs to be improved, using video conferencing for social interaction helps with reaching out. Picking up a phone and calling your loved ones to check in is just as powerful. We must remain connected.

We have so many technological tools at our fingertips that allow for checking in on others easier than ever before. Remember that these should not be practiced in silos, but rather should be bridged together to make one complete personal mental health strategy. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of those around you, and if you feel you need to reach out to someone for your own benefit, turn to your loved ones, health professionals, or your Métis Government to assess your needs.

Health has always been a primary concern for your Métis Government. Another tool we are working towards is a mental health hotline number for Métis Citizens to call and access free mental wellness supports, regardless of location. I thank our dedicated MMF Cabinet, the hardworking staff all across this province, and you, the Métis Citizens. We are all in this together. With your mandate and our leaderships vision, we have made historic progress. But there is more work to do.

The Métis Nation has struggled to find our place in Confederation within Canada's health system. Our provincial funding was among one of the first cuts that Premier Pallister made to healthcare when he took office. That being said, Prime Minister Trudeau has committed to co-developing a long overdue Métis Nation-specific healthcare legislation, and we are eagerly awaiting the tabling of this legislation in the near future.

The MMF just announced a new COVID support for families of Métis individuals who recently passed. At this time we are unable to gather and celebrate the lives of those who have left us. This, along with the economic troubles that many are facing, has brought a great amount of mental anguish and additional pressure to all.

This Memorial Service Financial Support Program is just one of our COVID responses, and is available for families of all who have recently lost a Métis relative, regardless of the cause of death. Your Métis Government is committed to doing everything in our power to ensure that Métis individuals who pass on are given the respects they are due, and is also committed to lessening the hardships that are being passed on to their loved ones.

We are also continuing to deliver hampers and conduct wellness checks on our vulnerable Citizens. Helping to ensure Elders and vulnerable Citizens stay home, these checks not only provide mental well-being supports such as connecting with Elders to share stories and traditional knowledge, but they also provide an opportunity to encourage and remind Citizens of our other MMF services such as the firewood program or pharmacy prescription program.

Please visit our website,, to see other COVID-19 supports that we continue to offer our Métis Citizens.

Every year we encourage our Harvesters to go out and share their harvest with Elders and other vulnerable Citizens. This year it is more critical than ever that our Harvesters exercise their section 35 right for the benefit of not just themselves, but those around them. This collective and community practice will continue to aid in the support that is needed, especially during this atypical holiday season.

I want to thank everyone for doing their part to try and flatten the curve during these trying times. Judging by the daily totals of COVID cases, there is still much work to be done, but I trust that all our Métis Citizens are obeying public health orders. I encourage everyone to take the health of those around you into consideration and stay home as much as possible.

I will be keeping those who are suffering from COVID - financially, physically, or mentally - in my prayers throughout these difficult times. I remind everyone to check in on their loved ones regularly and utilize the programs your Métis Government has in place to help make it through this second wave of COVID. Please check for daily updates, activities, and announcements of new COVID response programs.


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