Engagement with Métis
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Overview of Mr. Isaac's mandate
As Ministerial Special Representative, Tom Isaac led engagement with Métis organizations. The Ministerial Special Representative had a two-part mandate:
- to lead engagement with the Métis National Council, its governing members, Metis Settlements General Council, provincial and territorial governments, other Indigenous organizations and interested parties to map out a process for dialogue on Section 35 Métis rights
- to engage with the Manitoba Metis Federation to explore ways to advance dialogue on reconciliation with Métis in Manitoba in response to the 2013 Manitoba Metis Federation et al. v. Canada decision of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Building a process for dialogue on Section 35 Métis Rights
During the engagement period, the Ministerial Special Representative met with the Métis National Council, its governing members, Metis Settlements General Council, provincial and territorial governments, other Indigenous organizations and interested parties to map out a process for dialogue on Section 35 Métis rights.
The goal was to explore how best to move forward with partners toward the development of a Section 35 Métis rights framework. While the views of Métis organizations and provincial and territorial governments were the primary focus of the engagement, input from other interested parties will also be carefully considered as part of this process.
The engagement period began in early June 2015 and ended in mid-January 2016.
About Section 35 Métis Rights
- Aboriginal rights are collective rights of distinctive Aboriginal societies. These rights are recognized and affirmed by Section 35 of Canada's Constitution Act, 1982.
- The Supreme Court of Canada first affirmed the existence of Section 35 Métis rights in its 2003 Powley decision. This decision affirmed a right to hunt for food for the Métis community in and around Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. It also established the legal test to identify Section 35 Métis rights-bearing communities.
This engagement process is part of Canada's overall efforts to advance reconciliation and renew its relationship with Indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership. Canada looks forward to working with Indigenous groups and provincial/territorial partners to explore ways to address the report's recommendations and move together toward balanced solutions that meet the needs of all parties.
Engagement with Manitoba Métis
The Ministerial Special Representative also engaged with the Manitoba Metis Federation to explore ways to advance dialogue on reconciliation with Métis in Manitoba in response to the 2013 Manitoba Metis Federation et al. v. Canada decision of the Supreme Court of Canada.
On May 27, 2016, the Government of Canada and the Manitoba Metis Federation concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on reconciliation. The signing of this historic document sets the stage for the parties to advance their exploratory talks on reconciliation in response to the 2013 SCC decision.
Discussions under the MOU will be informed by the work of Mr. Isaac and his recommendations on how best to move forward.
About Manitoba Metis Federation et al. v. Canada
Ministerial Special Representative's Report
Mr. Isaac's report was released on July 21, 2016. The report provides recommendations for the Minister's consideration, along with a summary of what Mr. Isaac heard during the engagement process.
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada would like to thank Mr. Isaac for undertaking this important work. The next step is for all parties to carefully review this independent report and determine how best to move forward in partnership toward the development of a Métis Section 35 Rights framework.
Building a productive process for dialogue with Métis and provincial and territorial partners will be key to moving forward together on a path of reconciliation and renewal toward a shared prosperous future for the benefit of Métis people and all Canadians.
There is much work to be done and it will require distinct and innovative approaches and real co-operation and partnership to advance this important dialogue on Métis rights and interests and map the way forward together.