In the foots­teps of Louis Riel

La Liberté - Tisser Ensemble - - Nouvelles -

The Da­niels case. The Pow­ley case. And es­pe­cial­ly the case of the land pro­mi­sed to the Mé­tis people.

A se­ries of vic­to­ries be­fore the Su­preme Court of Ca­na­da have pa­ved the way for the es­ta­blish­ment of self-go­vern­ment sought by the Ma­ni­to­ba Me­tis Fe­de­ra­tion.

The MMF is the self-go­vern­ment re­pre­sen­ta­tive of the Ma­ni­to­ba Me­tis, from its Ca­bi­net of President and 22 Mi­nis­ters, to its exe­cu­tives in 140 Lo­cals. "Our Me­tis self-go­vern­ment is in the pro­cess of tran­si­tio­ning to be­come a third or­der of go­vern­ment un­der sec­tion 35 of Ca­na­da's Cons­ti­tu­tion. This will al­low us to bet­ter ad­dress the is­sues and as­pi­ra­tions of the Ma­ni­to­ba Mé­tis wi­thout in­ter­fe­rence by other le­vels of go­vern­ment," says Al Be­noit, MMF Se­nior Ad­vi­sor and Chief of Staff. "Our go­vern­ment is in the pro­cess of tran­si­tio­ning to self-go­vern­ment. We cur­rent­ly act as such, but in ac­cor­dance with the prio­ri­ties es­ta­bli­shed by other fe­de­ral and pro­vin­cial go­vern­ments. Be­co­ming a third le­vel of go­vern­ment in our own right would al­low us to iden­ti­fy the is­sues and as­pi­ra­tions of the Mé­tis people, and ad­dress them di­rect­ly."

Achie­ving self-go­vern­ment, which is the lo­gi­cal next step for the MMF, in­volves ne­go­tia­ting a pro­cess to gain re­cog­ni­tion that is pro­tec­ted un­der Sec­tion 35 of the Cons­ti­tu­tion Act.

"We will no lon­ger be go­ver­ned by changes in­tro­du­ced at other le­vels of go­vern­ment, and can ins­tead give voice to the in­ter­ests of the Mé­tis people on a le­vel playing field," says Be­noit.

With res­pect to the fi­nan­cial sta­bi­li­ty of the fu­ture Mé­tis go­vern­ment, he adds: "We would no lon­ger have to de­pend on po­li­ti­cal good­will with res­pect to bud­get al­lo­ca­tion and fun­ding; ra­ther, we would be able to de­ter­mine how our share of taxes is dis­tri­bu­ted to meet the needs of the Mé­tis people."

The way to a Mé­tis-fo­cu­sed sys­tem is now clear. For the go­vern­ment of MMF President, Da­vid Chartrand, it's a mat­ter of ho­nou­ring an elec­tion pro­mise made 20 years ago. It is al­so about re­kind­ling the flame lit by Louis Riel and the Mé­tis people of the Red Ri­ver who, prior to their en­try in­to Con­fe­de­ra­tion, al­rea­dy had their own free and in­de­pendent pro­vi­sio­nal go­vern­ment.

It is a fit­ting way to come full circle.

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