President's Message - July 07, 2022

July 7, 2022

We recently celebrated Canada Day, which is a time to reflect on our pride as Citizens of this great country and our democratic traditions that still hold strong. I hope you all had a chance to enjoy the festivities and spend time with your families.

It is indeed fitting that our own Red River Métis democratic traditions were also being honoured on the eve of Canada Day - the celebration of a country we helped shape.

Last Wednesday, June 29, we held the inauguration of your elected officials. Together, we were sworn into office, delivering our oaths and declaring before our people that we will be accountable to you, and fulfill our duties to the best of our abilities. We are the only Métis government across the Homeland who is sworn in by the Lieutenant-Governor of the province. I'd like to thank the Honourable Janice C. Filmon, C.M., O.M for swearing in our Caucus.

The event was also well attended by dignitaries, including: Premier Heather Stefanson; Alan Lagimodiere, Minister of Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations; MLA and NDP critic for Indigenous reconciliation Ian Bushie; Manitoba Liberal leader and MLA Dougald Lamont, Winnipeg Chief of Police Danny Smyth; and RCMP Superintendent Scott McMurchy, among others. I'd also like to thank Elder Verna Demontigny for delivering the opening prayers for our inauguration in Michif, honouring our culture and affirming our connection with the language we created.

The day after the inauguration, we held a Cabinet meeting where appointments to the portfolios were made and ratified. Each person will be given the details of their mandate, outlining the expected outcomes from their work in the coming four years.

A clear mandate and a clear set of expectations makes sure that each portfolio and each Cabinet member's work is contributing to the broader vision. The effort required to advance each portfolio is significant and continues to grow, particularly as we begin establishing the necessary framework to serve Citizens beyond borders, wherever they live.

You will see and hear about these appointments and the Ministers many times over the coming weeks and months, but I felt it was important to our ongoing tradition of transparency and accountability that Citizens understand the reasoning behind these appointments.

Meet your Métis Government Cabinet

Alfred Anderson is appointed as Minister of Culture and Heritage based on his previous strength in this role, his contributions to his community throughout COVID-19, bringing Métis music and joy to everyone, building a cultural brand, instilling pride in the community, and bringing communities together through their love for the Red River Métis.

Andrew Carrier is appointed as Minister of the Métis Community Liaison Department. Because of his deep involvement in the strategic planning process within this portfolio, we want to continue the momentum we have gained, leveraging his knowledge of the history of the portfolio as we expand on this department.

He is also appointed as Minister of Residential and Day Schools because his compassion for survivors is unmatched. His ability to relate to the experiences of our survivors, as well as his involvement with the Truth and Reconciliation work for residential and day school survivors, also make him the right individual for this work.

He is further appointed as Minister of French and Michif Language Protection, based on his strength in the French language and his dedication to the preservation of our traditional language, Michif.

Marielle Gauthier is appointed as Associate Minister of French and Michif Language Protection, based on her deep pride as part of the Franco-Manitoban community and her experience in working within that community.

Along with her responsibilities as the Spokeswoman for Infinity Women Secretariat, Anita Campbell is appointed as Minister of Finance and Human Resources, based on her demonstrated loyalty to the Nation and previous knowledge and strength in these areas, giving her the ability to handle this large portfolio successfully.

Darrel Ferland is appointed as the Minister of Traditional Economies. This is a new portfolio, and his appointment is based on his previous work with economic development, knowledge of the land, traditional practices, and his ongoing dedication to the Nation.

David Beaudin is appointed as Minister of Agriculture based on his enthusiasm and dedication to this expanding portfolio and his willingness to get involved in his portfolios in a very hands-on way, which is needed as we build this department from the ground up.

Denise Thomas is appointed as Minister for 60s Scoop survivors, based on her many years of service, travelling through the Nation and hearing the experiences of Citizens and survivors, as well as her compassion and personal experiences during the Sixties Scoop.

She is also appointed as Minister of Engagement and Consultation due to her substantial knowledge in this portfolio and the success of the ongoing work. As we continue expanding this outreach, her dedication to ensure our rights are protected is integral to this portfolio.

Frances Chartrand is appointed Minister of Early Learning Child Care, based on her drive to achieve results, building up this department from nothing to a successful and growing portfolio, and her dedication to the children of our Nation.

She is further appointed as Minister of Health, based on her success in this work and the cohesiveness of the team she has grown, as well as her ability to build relationships across multiple levels of government.

Jack Park is appointed as Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, based on his ongoing success stewarding this portfolio, and many other economic development initiatives that are valued in the multimillions of dollars.

Joan Ledoux is appointed as the Minister of Provincial Education, with David Beaudin as Associate Minister. Both are experienced educators and have both contributed to the success of this portfolio, making this the right team to lead this important work forward.

JoAnne Remillard is appointed as the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. This is a new portfolio, and JoAnne has been appointed based on her demonstrated commitment to our government, and to ensure she has a platform to use her strong voice and urban Métis perspective. She has been committed to working with other government officials and proponents within the solar power industry, which demonstrates her ongoing commitment to environmental harm reduction.

Working with her will be newcomer Peter (PJ) Fleming, as Associate Minister for Environment and Climate Change, based on his deep respect for our environment as well as his rural perspective, providing important balance and perspective to this critical issue.

John Fleury is appointed as Minister for Métis Employment and Training, working with Associate Minister Joan Ledoux. This is a strong team with significant experience in managing this portfolio. Minister Fleury's depth of knowledge about our government's history and future direction will bring great strength to this work.

Judy Mayer is appointed as Minister for Constitution, Rights and Governance, based on her ongoing success in this role, ensuring that we continue to advance our constitution and governance models along with our advancing Nation.

She is further appointed as Minister of the Red River Métis Beyond Borders initiative, based on the natural interplay between her existing portfolio and the growing demand for communication, services, and supports for our Citizens beyond borders, as well as her strong belief in this work.

Julyda Lagimodiere is appointed as Minister for Justice, due to her deep knowledge and experience of the justice system and her compassion for those who interact with the criminal justice system.

She is further appointed as Minister for Pemmican Publications, based on her experience in the education system and her great capacity for demanding portfolios.

Leah LaPlante is appointed Minister of Citizenship, due to her in-depth knowledge of the citizenship process and her deep compassion for people returning home to our Nation.

She is further appointed as Minister of Natural Resources based on her excellent stewardship of this portfolio and her overall strength as a leader and decision maker. She will be supported in this portfolio by Associate Minister Peter (PJ) Fleming, who will lend his knowledge of the land to this important portfolio.

Mark Vincent Parenteau is appointed Minister of Mining, based on the depth of his experience with this portfolio and the growing potential of the potash mining industry in the province. He will be ably supported by Associate Minister Mildred Dorian. The upcoming vast potential of mining in Manitoba meant that this portfolio could become more targeted and focused on the mining sector, so that we can capitalize on this growth for our people.

Mona Buors is appointed Minister for Métis Child and Family Services, based on her deep love for the children of our Nation and her ongoing expertise and knowledge of this portfolio.

Richard Genaille is appointed Minister of Sports and Youth, because of his ability to advance this portfolio and his deep commitment to growing the voice and strength of our Nation's youth, who are thriving under his leadership.

Shawn Nault is appointed as Minister for Red River Métis Veterans, which is our third and final new portfolio. This is a particularly good fit for this new portfolio as he is a veteran himself and has demonstrated strength and capacity for this responsibility.

Will Goodon is appointed as Minister of Housing due to his outstanding success in growing this portfolio and his innovative thinking about ways to apply funding to the benefit of our Citizens.

He is further appointed as Minister of Property Management, a choice supported by the natural connection between the housing portfolio and property management, as well as his ability to manage multiple responsibilities.

Along with my responsibilities as President, I also carry portfolio responsibilities, including Economic Development and International and Inter-Indigenous Relations. On this second portfolio, I will work closely with Ambassador Clément Chartier to ensure that our Nation continues to develop our relationships with other Indigenous Nations, both in Canada and across the world.

I will also continue to hold the portfolio for our land claim, as settling this was one of the core commitments I made when I was first elected as President. Rest assured, I will ensure our land claim is settled, ably assisted by Associate Minister Denise Thomas, who is on this portfolio based on the depth of her experience and dedication within our government as well as her strength at the negotiating table.

Moving forward

When your representatives are appointed to Cabinet and take on the portfolios assigned to them, they have the power to make an impact on the daily lives of Citizens, but they also take on the obligation of managing multi-million-dollar initiatives and outcomes that can change lives. It is a significant responsibility that I know each one of your representatives takes very seriously.

This is a very strong group of leaders, and because they were acclaimed, we can be confident that they are all experienced in managing the large projects and initiatives that are the responsibility of a fully functioning Métis government.

Peter (PJ) Fleming is the lone newcomer to the Caucus, taking the regional position formerly held by John Parenteau, who has opted to pursue other opportunities after many years of service to his Nation as an elected official. However, he has been a strong and capable leader at the Local level for many years, so we are confident he has the skills and knowledge to achieve great results in his new roles.

PJ's election is a great example of how a Citizen's efforts at the grassroots, Local level helps create a bond of trust within the community, which leads to more senior positions at the regional level. PJ has not only showed his community that he has strong leadership skills, his efforts, his intelligence, and his work ethic are already well known to other members of Cabinet and Caucus.

I know we are all excited to continue the important work we do on your behalf, the Citizens of our Nation. As your President, I must once again thank you all for your faith and confidence in my leadership and the strength of our Caucus. Know that I will continue to follow your will and guidance, just as I will continue to keep you updated on your government's activities and advancements. I am so very proud of our strength as a Nation, with our thriving democracy here in the heart of our Homeland, in this great land we now call Canada.

Until we can be together again, 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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