Métis Nation of Ontario set to oust 5K citizens off its citizenship rolls

The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) has voted to oust more than 5,000 citizens from its roll due to incomplete applications for citizenship.

According to MNO President Margaret Froh, some of those incomplete files could include not signing the oath of allegiance or not providing a long-form birth certificate, linking them to their Métis ancestry.

Froh told Nation to Nation that the province-wide vote came under the direction of the membership.

“It is now concluded,” she said. “We had 30 per cent of our citizens eligible to vote, the turn out which is a fantastic result, and from that 71 per cent of those gave very clear direction that for those individuals with incomplete records be removed.”

Two weeks ago, the MNO and the federal government signed a Métis Government Recognition and Implementation Agreement. It’s the second self government agreement – the first was signed in 2019. Froh said it’s a true act of reconciliation.

“We’re going to be developing and ratifying a constitution over the course of the coming years, we’re going to be continuing to negotiate continued components including things like how our government will be treated from a tax perspective as an example,” she said.

Development of the Ring of Fire

A $3.8 billion plan called the Critical Minerals Strategy announced by Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of Natural Resources last December, is supposed to support the mining and extraction of minerals including lithium, cobalt, copper and rare earth elements in the area.

According to the plan, $40 million will be allocated to the Northern Regulatory Initiative which will support regional studies, land-use planning, impact assessments and Indigenous consultation.

Wilkinson said it’s an opportunity to advance economic reconciliation.

“Indigenous communities can, not only be workers at sites, not only can they have procurement contracts but actually be partners that are equity participants in these projects,” he said.

Earlier this week, Ontario accepted a plan from the Webequie and Marten Falls First Nations to build an all-season supply road to the resource-rich Ring of Fire mining project, located 550 km north of Thunder Bay. The territory is home to a total of nine other First Nations and not all are on board with the plans for development.

Neskantaga First Nation Chief Wayne Moonias posted his opposition to the development on YouTube. He said anyone planning to build a road through the First Nation’s traditional territory “will have to kill us first.”

Wilkinson said his department is talking with Ontario and First Nations communities.

He said the ROF is a good example where there are a number of different Indigenous communities who have interests in that conversation.

“I think we would like to continue that dialogue to try to understand what the objectives are and to try to ensure, we can address in a meaningful way the concerns that communities may have,” he said.

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