Metis leaders urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government on Thursday to speed up its plans to introduce and pass self-government legislation before Parliament breaks for summer.
The leaders met in Ottawa as part of a summit between the Metis National Council and several government ministers.
The council is comprised of Metis leaders from Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Ontario.
At the start of the meeting, council president Cassidy Caron said the leadership has been working to sign self-governance agreements with Ottawa and “eagerly look forward to the introduction and passage of Metis self-government implementation legislation in Parliament this session.”
Speaking afterwards, Metis Nation of Alberta president Audrey Poitras said “there is nothing more important to the Metis Nation than the swift introduction and passage” of this legislation.
She said members voted overwhelmingly in favour of ratifying its constitution last fall _ a step necessary to becoming recognized as a government for its own communities.
The Liberals have less than a month to go before the House of Commons is set to rise for summer, and the minority government already has nine priority bills it wants passed. The Liberals have said that working toward reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples _ including advancing the Metis Nation’s goals of self-governance _ is a priority.
Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller said Thursday that the plan is to table the long-awaited legislation only days before the House is set to go on break, meaning it will be debated in the fall.
“I won’t bore people with the dirty work of parliament sausage making, particularly in a minority government because it can get a little tricky and messy,” said Miller. “But that’s really on us and on the government whether it passes this session.
“We’re looking in the next couple weeks to get it introduced and we heard quite strongly from presidents here, they want that moved up to an earlier date.”