President's Message - November 29, 2022

November 29, 2022

In my last message, I touched on the perils of war and how they can change lives overnight. Every part of the globe is feeling the cost of the war in Ukraine - including our Homeland - as prices for food and fuel have continued to rise. Corn, wheat, sunflower oil, and other staples are usually produced by Russia and Ukraine and have been disrupted by Putin's invasion. Gas prices have been similarly impacted.

Our Nation has always had a reputation for being hard workers, and I know we continue to be a hardworking people today. What we worked to gain before Canada came to our Homeland was taken from us, but we never stopped our efforts to regain what we lost. Because of what was stolen from our Nation, we have had to work harder than others just to be able to offer our families what other populations took for granted. I have seen Red River Métis families take pride in every financial step they take toward leaving a legacy for their children.

I have spoken with many Citizens in recent months, and they have shared their worries with me. They have told me how much harder it has become to get by month-to-month, to say nothing about getting ahead. Our seniors and Elders on fixed incomes have expressed their deep worry about being able to afford groceries or other household necessities, especially as we head into the holiday season. I know it would break the hearts of our Elders and seniors if they couldn't afford to give little gifts to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, or contribute traditional family recipes to Christmas and New Year's feasts.

Your Red River Métis Government has heard these concerns and we're taking action to support our Citizens during this challenging time. We have set aside $5 million to fund a targeted cost of living supplement to help our Métis Child and Family Services kids in care, post-secondary students, seniors and Elders, along with families who are trying to keep ahead of the rising cost of living.

From October of 2022 to March of 2023, the supplement will be provided to students and kids in care in the form of e-transfers to their accounts. For families, seniors, and Elders, it will be in the form of grocery vouchers through arrangements with grocery stores - many locally owned - across all our regions. This is to ensure that you receive the full benefit of the supplement, reducing the risk of having other financial resources clawed back because of it.

We have not forgotten our Citizens beyond borders in this initiative, as we are also providing support to our Citizens who live outside of Manitoba. Our Citizens beyond borders have sought their Citizenship with the National Government of the Red River Métis because they are patriots, concerned about provincial clubs that are distorting our identity to include people who have no kinship ties with our Nation. Even though these patriots have gained their Citizenship with us for moral and ethical reasons, we have still committed to finding ways to provide them with the quality support all our Citizens have come to expect. The expectation for our departments to support our Citizens beyond borders is clearly outlined in our Cabinet's mandate letters, which are publicly available on our website.

Remember, shifting our thinking away from the borders that were imposed on our people by Canada is nothing more than a return to the way our Nation was when it was born. Our ancestors were a highly mobile people, so it's no surprise that we, as their descendants, are highly mobile today. Our people can be found across Canada, the United States, and other parts of the world. These individuals may have different life experiences, but they are a part of us, united by our shared history and our connection to our cultural traditions and our Homeland.

Thanks to careful financial management and solid investments, your Red River Métis Government has the capacity to start delivering programs and services to all Citizens, no matter where they live. We will also continue to negotiate through our government-to-government relationship with Canada to secure funding agreements that include our Citizens beyond borders. This is the way of our Nation: that we share what we have with our extended community and kinship networks. As your President, I do what it takes to ensure we never forget the importance of sharing.

If you want to know more about the program or find out if you are eligible for the supplement, please reach out to your region. Your Cabinet and I sincerely hope that this supplement can ease some of the worries our families, students, Elders, and seniors have been carrying these past months.

I send my well wishes to Citizens who are honouring our traditions by harvesting from our Homeland to feed family and community. Stay safe and remember - your Red River Métis Government has your back.

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

 


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