In the footsteps of Louis Riel
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.