Earlier this month, the MMF sent a comprehensive list of questions to the federal political parties, asking about policies and promises that will directly affect Métis Citizens, their families and traditional lands.
The questions that were asked are provided below, along with the responses from the Liberal Party of Canada, which is the only party to respond so far.
The Manitoba Metis Federation believes that when the Crown and the Métis Nation’s Manitoba Metis Community have dialogue, renew or build relationships, negotiate rather than litigate, and find creative and mutually agreeable solutions, they can collectively advance the constitutionally mandated process of the core values to Reconciliation.
On November 15, 2016, the Manitoba Metis Federation and the Government of Canada signed a Framework Agreement for Advancing Reconciliation to establish a formal negotiation process to jointly develop a renewed Nation-to-Nation, Government-to-Government relationship between the Crown and the Manitoba Métis Community. The negotiations between the Manitoba Metis Federation and Canada under the Framework Agreement are active and ongoing.
Through this agreement, how will your Government commit to working on a Nation-to-Nation, Government-to-Government basis with the Métis to advance reconciliation, implement resources into communities and renew the relationship through co-operation, respect for Métis rights, and ending the status quo?
If elected, what action plan with concreate objectives will your party make to uphold the core values of reconciliation as they specifically relate to the Manitoba Métis experience?
Would this action plan include a legislative framework for reconciliation?
Liberal Party response: A re-elected Liberal government will continue to work collaboratively through the Framework Agreement for Advancing Reconciliation to accelerate this work on a Nation to Nation and Government to Government basis. We would continue to implement the related joint action plan with the Manitoba Métis Federation announced in September of 2018, which included a federal investment of $154.3 million to the Manitoba Métis Federation to support progress on the shared priorities set out in that joint document.
A re-elected Liberal government would move forward – in close collaboration with the Manitoba Métis Federation – to continue to deliver better and timelier distinctions-based support. We will continue to invest in the things that make a real difference in the lives of the Métis Nation in Manitoba and its communities. This would include a commitment to addressing critical infrastructure needs in the Métis Nation Manitoba Community by 2030, and providing new investments to support the ongoing operation and maintenance of this infrastructure. It would also include co-developing distinctions-based Indigenous Health legislation – backed with the investments needed to deliver this care – and the development and delivery of services for the Métis Nation’s Manitoba Community .
A re-elected Liberal government will also host a First Ministers’ Meeting on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation priorities, and continue to advance meaningful inclusion of Métis Nation partners in federal and inter-governmental decision-making processes that have an impact on Indigenous rights and interests. This is in addition to continuing to meet regularly through the Canada Métis Accord, and annual Crown-Métis Nation Summits.
A re-elected Liberal government would work in partnership with the Manitoba Métis Federation on their reconciliation priorities, including through new legislation.
The Manitoba Métis are continuing the path to economic and social development and building strategic relationships. The Manitoba Métis has seen significant investments and advances in portfolios such as Housing, Economic Development, Health, Employment and Training. Forging significant headway toward the redress of historic wrongs and the self-determination of the Métis Nation.
If your party forms government, describe how you would work in partnership with the Métis Nation. What supports will you offer to assist us in closing the economic gap between the Manitoba Métis and other Canadians achieve our rightful place as partners in Confederation and further, contributing as economic partners in growth?
Liberal Party response: A re-elected Liberal government will continue to make progress on the priorities of the Manitoba Métis Federation, meeting regularly through the Canada Métis Accord, and annual Crown-Métis Nation Summits. We will move forward – in close collaboration with the Manitoba Métis Federation – to continue to deliver better and more timely distinctions-based support. We will continue the work of advancing self-determination with the Manitoba Métis Federation and investing in the things that make a real difference in the lives of the Métis Nation in Manitoba.
A re-elected Liberal government will also host a First Ministers’ Meeting on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation priorities, and continue to advance meaningful inclusion of Métis Nation partners in federal and inter-governmental decision-making processes that have an impact on Indigenous rights and interests.
Building on the significant investments already made to support Métis Nation priorities in the areas of housing, skills and training, early learning and child care, and governance capacity, Budget 2019 continued this progress by investing $50 million over five years to enhance the funding of the Métis Capital Corporations to support the start-up and expansion of Métis small and medium-sized enterprises, and up to $100 million to establish an Indigenous Growth Fund to further encourage investments in Indigenous-led businesses by Aboriginal Financial Institutions, including Métis Capital Corporations. We also provided $362 million over 10 years to support a Métis Nation-led post-secondary education strategy.
A re-elected Liberal government will further build on this progress by establishing a new national benefits-sharing framework to ensure that the Métis Nation’s Manitoba Métis Community directly benefits from major resource projects. We will also move forward with a new target to have at least five percent of federal contracts awarded to businesses led by Indigenous Peoples.
Moreover, a re-elected Liberal government would move forward on addressing critical infrastructure needs in the Métis Nation’s Manitoba Métis Community by 2030, and providing new investments to support the ongoing operation and maintenance of this infrastructure.
3. HEALTH AND WELLNESS
The Manitoba Metis Federation recognizes a gap within the health care system and Métis life circumstances which have produced a burden of illnesses (such as diabetes, heart disease and shorter life expectancy) and an ongoing struggle for the Métis community to obtain medications. The Daniels Decision observes a clear obligation that the government owes to the Métis. The Manitoba Metis Federation has taken a leadership role and administered its first prescription drug program (PDP) under Métis Health Benefits effective November 16, 2017.
If elected, will your government collaborate with the Manitoba Métis Government to ensure the support, success and expansion of a Métis specific program to enhance our Manitoba Metis Federation-initiated Métis Health Benefits, including medications initiated to address and solve the historic and continued health care crisis facing Métis Citizens?
Liberal Party response: A re-elected Liberal government will co-develop distinctions-based Indigenous Health legislation – backed with the investments needed to deliver this care – and the development and delivery of services for the Métis Nation’s Manitoba Métis Community. We would work in close collaboration with the Manitoba Métis Federation to co-develop this legislation and the investments associated with it.
4. CHILD WELFARE
The over-representation of Métis in Child and Family Services system has been called a “humanitarian crisis” (Government of Canada) and is deeply rooted in inter-generational trauma and colonial practices and policies. Studies show that children in care have poorer outcomes and are at greater risk, of homelessness, addictions, and involvement in the justice system. Systems must change to improve the path for Métis children and families.
If your government is elected, will you implement Bill C-92 and in what ways would you work with the Manitoba Metis Federation to transcend old and flawed models, reform frameworks for child and family services, and support Métis families and their ability to stay together and flourish?
Liberal Party response: A re-elected Liberal government will work in partnership with the Manitoba Métis Federation to ensure that the Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Children, Youth and Families is fully implemented, with long-term, predictable, and sufficient funding to support the full implementation of the Act.
Languages connect us to cultural history of identity and belonging. The Métis are well known as speakers of many languages. In addition to others the Métis spoke our own language Michif. According the UNESCO Atlas of the Worlds Languages a third of the world’s languages are considered endangered and have fewer than 1,000 speakers left, including Michif which is critically endangered.
If elected, what supports would your government contribute to the Manitoba Metis Federation community for a distinctions-based approach to Indigenous language revitalization projects that will preserve, promote and revitalize Michif, the traditional language spoken by the Métis?
Liberal Party response: Building on the significant investments already made to support Métis Nation priorities in the areas of housing, skills and training, early learning and child care, and governance capacity, Budget 2019 continued this progress, including funding for a distinctions-based approach to Indigenous language revitalization projects with $333.7 million over five years to preserve, promote and revitalize Indigenous languages, including Michif, the traditional language spoken by the Métis.
A re-elected Liberal government will work with the Manitoba Métis Federation to ensure that the Indigenous Languages Act is fully implemented, in order to preserve, promote, and revitalize Indigenous languages in Canada, including Michif, supported with long-term, predictable, and sufficient funding.
6. MMWIG INQUIRY AND IMPLEMENTATION
The final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls reports the history of colonization has further generated a hierarchy of identity, resulting in conflicts within the Métis community and drawing attention away from the ongoing marginalization that Métis women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people face. The Manitoba Metis Federation is working with the RCMP and Winnipeg Police to find information on unsolved murdered cases, which includes a $10,000 open reward that would lead to conviction or even the recovery of missing bodies to assist in the closure and of healing for Métis families and communities.
If elected, what type of resources will your government allocate to take the urgent measures that are required as described in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and how will you work with the Manitoba Metis Federation to implement Métis-specific options?
Liberal Party response: A re-elected Liberal government will to work with the Manitoba Métis Federation to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice. We are committed to working in partnership with the Manitoba Métis Federation to develop a national action plan – as called for by the National Inquiry – to implement its calls for justice, which is distinctions–based and flexible.
7. CLIMATE CHANGE AND ADAPTATION
Evidence-based perspectives and scientists from around the world have warned that global warming will have widespread economic, environmental and health impacts. The Manitoba Métis have a vital connection to our lands and waters and are committed to participating in a sustainable future to ensure our traditional social and economic Métis rights are protected. The Métis are critical in making meaningful and effective adaptation and mitigation decisions for current and future generations, and to help Canadian society move from risk to resilience.
If elected, what is your government’s climate change strategy to incorporate the Manitoba Métis through their MMF Government to take preventive steps and strengthen our economy?
What specific investment will your government make in our Métis community to mitigate and adapt to climate change?
Liberal Party response: Climate change is already having a serious and irreversible effect on people, on our communities, and on our economy. We can’t afford half-measures or a wait-and-see approach. We have already put a price on pollution to help reduce emissions, and introduced a new rebate system that puts more money back in the pockets of Canadians. We will now build on our national climate plan with new measures to help move Canada toward a net-zero emissions future, including strengthening existing rules to cut emissions from Canada’s biggest polluters, including oil and gas.
Indigenous stewardship and traditional knowledge are invaluable resources in our efforts to fight climate change and protect a healthy environment for future generations. That is why in 2017 our government provided $31.4 million over 5 years to implement the Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Program. This program will continue to support Métis Nation Governing Members in developing community-based climate monitoring initiatives.
A re-elected Liberal government will continue to work in partnership with the Manitoba Métis Federation as we develop and implement measures to fight climate change.
Building on the $2 billion we have already invested in helping communities prepare for and prevent weather related disasters like floods and fires, we will move forward with an additional $1 billion investment over the next decade in the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, so communities have a proactive, permanent and sustainable way to address the emerging threats of climate change. Métis Nation governments are specifically included as eligible recipients under this program.
Our government also announced this summer that it is investing $3 million, over three years, to support five Métis Nation-led projects through the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program. These projects will support the protection and conservation of Métis Nation lands and waters.
A re-elected Liberal government will continue to work in partnership with the Manitoba Métis Federation to combat climate change and preserve Canada’s natural habitat.
8. EDUCATION AND TRAINING
The Canada-Métis Nation Post-Secondary Education Sub-Accord seeks to prioritize Métis Nation students and was designed to counteract the deep-rooted injustices which have prevented Métis Youth from pursuing equal opportunities in post-secondary education.
How will your government support the MMF to help our Métis students attain their education and career goals?
If elected, will your government commit to keeping the 10 year investment for a Métis Nation stream of ASET funding?
Liberal Party response: Through Budget 2018 our government invested $325 million over five years, and $67 million per year ongoing in the Métis Nation stream of the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program, which supports employment services, skills development and job training. Building on the significant investments already made to support Métis Nation priorities in the areas of housing, skills and training, early learning and child care, and governance capacity, Budget 2019 continued this progress by including $362 million over 10 years to support a Métis Nation-led post-secondary education strategy.
A re-elected Liberal government will remain committed to these long-term, predictable and sustainable investments in Métis Nation education and will continue to work with the Manitoba Métis Federation to make further investments in your priorities.
9. CONSULTATION AND ACCOMMODATION
The duty to Consult and Accommodate with the Manitoba Métis is a Section 35 Constitutional requirement before decision-making is done by governments. Consistent with Resolution #8, The Manitoba Metis Federation is the first contact and facilitator of Manitoba Metis Consultation.
If elected, what will your government do to ensure full and proper consultation and accommodation of the Manitoba Metis Community includes effective offset or compensation measures regarding the development of crown land?
What will your government do to ensure proponents undertaking major resource development will fully, properly, and meaningfully engage and promote the participation of the Manitoba Metis Federation?
Liberal Party response: A re-elected Liberal government will continue to fully and properly engage it’s duty to consult the Manitoba Métis Community on issues impacting its rights and interests. We will also continue to work collaboratively on accommodation measures, which can include such things as Crown Land.
After the Harper Conservatives failed to protect the environment, eroded public trust, and paralyzed major projects, we put in place better rules through Bill C-69 that:
- Protect our environment, fish and waterways;
- Rebuild public trust and respect Indigenous rights;
- Strengthen our economy and encourage investment; and
- Create new jobs and economic opportunities for the middle class.
Andrew Scheer has promised oil lobbyists that he would kill Bill C-69 if he is elected.
A re-elected Liberal government will also establish a new national benefits-sharing framework to ensure that the Métis Nation’s Manitoba Métis Community directly benefits from major resource projects.
10. LAND CLAIMS
In March 2013, the Supreme Court recognized the obligations to the Métis people enshrined in the Manitoba Act: “The unfinished business of reconciliation of the Métis people with Canadian sovereignty is a matter of national and constitutional import.”
As the representative of Manitoba’s Métis Community, the Manitoba Metis Federation’s objective is to negotiate with Canada to reach a land claims agreement that will address this outstanding constitutional grievance.
If you were to become Prime Minister, will you commit to negotiating with MMF to Settle the 2013 land claim decision by the Supreme Court?
If elected, what can you commit to the thousands and thousands of Metis across western Canada that would change their lives and make them feel apart of confederation?
Liberal Party response: A re-elected Liberal government will continue to negotiate and make progress with the Manitoba Métis Federation to resolve the 2013 land claim decision by the Supreme Court.
A re-elected federal government will provide federal support for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Métis Nation entering Confederation.
A major topic of concern for the Metis Nation is the concept of Metis identity and verification of Metis Citizenship. Many people have come forward in recent years and have used the term Metis to identify themselves, these individuals or organizations are not accepted by the Manitoba Metis Government because they are not apart of the only and historic Metis Nation. These false claims open a floodgate of hundreds of thousands of people trying to identify as a Métis, with a significant cost to the Federal Government, cultural appropriation and damaging the representation of Metis rights.
How will your government mitigate the recognition of individuals and groups who falsely claim Métis ancestry?
Liberal Party response: The Liberal Party of Canada supports the right of self-determination for the Métis Nation and believes these are issues which are most appropriately resolved by Métis Governments. The federal government does not, and should not, define who is a member of the Métis Nation, nor does it maintain a registry of Métis Nation individuals.