There is a growing rift between the provincial organizations that make up the Metis National Council (MNC).
At issue is the suspension of the Metis Nation of Ontario (MNO) from the MNC over its recognition of six historical communities.
Manitoba Metis Federation President David Chartrand, and also MNC vice-president, says the communities do not belong under the Metis umbrella.
But the president MNO, Margaret Froh, disagrees.
“These are not new communities, they are very old communities,” said Froh on Nation to Nation.
A complete list of the communities can be found here.
Audrey Poitras, president of the Metis Nation of Alberta, and Glen McCallum, president of the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan, both said Ontario’s criteria for identity is the same as their own.
“The MNO’s definition, I believe, is exactly the same definition that we use in our provinces,” said Poitras.
All three leaders want to meet with the MNC but there hasn’t been a meeting in 16 months.
MNC outgoing president, Clement Chartier, issued a press release Wednesday calling for a “special sitting” to determine “the role of the MNO in our governing structure, our citizenship and processes; a way to protect our democracy; to further address your demands for a meeting; and to provide a path forward for the necessary Presidential Election.”
The letter was sent Metis Nations of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Ontario appears to have been left out.
“From our perspective we’re not kicked out at all,” said Froh, adding they have asked for meeting to discuss its suspension but it hasn’t happened.
But right now it appears Ontario’s five votes in the next election are up in the air. B.C. also gets five votes, while Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba each have 15 votes.
Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta held a gathering in Gatineau, Que., while Manitoba and B.C. held their own in Saskatchewan.
Meanwhile, in northern Alberta, Metis have a land base. There are eight settlements populated by about 6,500 people and they are separate from the Metis Nation of Alberta. Therefore they are not part of the MNC.
A couple years ago they signed a framework agreement with Ottawa. Herb Lehr, president of the Metis Settlements General Council said they are still working at it.
“What we’re trying to do, because of the Daniels case, is move into our section 35 rights and have those rights honoured and recognized by the federal government,” said Lehr.
APTN has a special series on the Metis Settlements that were published this week. See more here.
Catch the full interviews on Nation to Nation below.