Platforms of MN-S President candidates
- EFN Staff | May 24, 2017
As part of its MN-S Election coverage, Eagle Feather News contacted each candidate running for the positions of Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President, and President. Each candidate was given an opportunity to submit a photo and respond to the same questions. Below are their unedited answers.
President candidates are:
- Bruce C. Flamont,
- Steve Fraser,
- Karen Anne LaRocque,
- Charlene Lavallee,
- Lorna Docken Ledoux,
- Alex Laurent Maurice,
- Dale McAuley,
- Glen Hector McCallum,
- and Mike Tanton.
What is the role of the President of the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan?
Bruce Flamont (BF): Represent the interests of the Métis people in the province as it relates to our rights. Aboriginal title, to the land and Aboriginal rights.
Represent the interests of the Métis people progress that began 25-30 years ago
Karen LaRocque (KL): The role of the president is to be the spokesperson and leader for the Métis Citizens of Saskatchewan.
Charlene Lavallee (CL): Officially the only defined role of the President of the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan “shall be the head of the executive, and chief political spokesperson for the organization”
Constitution Metis Nation –Saskatchewan
There are currently no defined roles and responsibilities of the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan Executive.
My personal opinion or definition of what a President of any organization is; they are the voice of the people and their actions are always in the best interest of the people were elected to represent. They must be above reproach and respectable.
Lorna (Docken) Ledoux (LDL): It is the role of the MN-S President to achieve a full rights agenda for the MN-S citizens and inspire those citizens to be their best. The MN-S is a team and its leader must be able to put personal biases and issues aside to work with every elected and non elected citizen no matter who they supported in this election. Accountability and transparency are essential qualities in an MN-S President. But those words really mean working honestly for the benefit of the Metis citizenship and letting people know what you're up to.
Mike Tanton (MT): The role of the
President is to carry forth the voice of the people and to ensure the needs and
issues of the Metis people of this province and being heard and met in the
political arena. This person needs to demonstrate and showcase the best of our
people while not being afraid to be real about the issues facing our people.
Taking the tough stand against the wrongs and inequalities that are common in
our communities while helping to find the solutions that will build a better
future for our people and all others willing to work with the Metis Nation.
What skills, qualifications, or background do you have that qualify you for the role of President of the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan?
BF: Was present at the founding meeting of what we now know as the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan, many years ago in Prince Albert
ED for the first 12 years (glory years) when all of the progress was made.
Participated in the development all of the programs and services that we have now
I Organized the locals, NB regions (developed the locals in the regions.
Instrumental in the creation of GDI, development of Back to Batoche, legislation that leads us to where we are now
I have a vast experience in the history of the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan and a strong interest in our future.
I have been speaking across Canada about Métis rights most of my life
I have all the knowledge and requirements needed to revive us get us back on course.
I believe that over the last 10-15 years the organization has died, I have come out of retirement to reorganize us.
KL: I have been involved and had membership with AMNSIS, MSS and MN-S 40+ years. I witnessed the highs and lows and participated in various capacities. I was the Regional Director of Western Region III and was elected President of Riel Cresaultis Local #33 in 2013. I am currently a director at large with the Local. I went to SUNTEP and withdrew due to an illness in my fourth and final year. I have been employed by both school boards in Regina. I have advocated on behalf of my community and for individual community members from 1997 to present. I have been instrumental in negotiating resources with 4 regions across the province.
Western Region III under my leadership owns a development corporation and majority ownership in a business.
CL: Communications (effective communicators primarily listen), negotiations, arbitration, grievances, facilitation, deductive and inferred reasoning, analytical and evaluative, problem solving. Natural capabilities/skills in; leadership Collaboration and Team building.
35 years involvement with the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan. In several different capacities; regional board member, executive member on Local boards, METSI board member and regional METSI board member, volunteer and many different Metis cultural and sporting events.
LDL: It is crucial for the MN-S President to have management and leadership experience. We do not have the luxury of time to train a President. My background includes two terms on the MN-S Executive as well as employment experience at the MN-S Affiliates in management positions. I served as Acting President for the last part of my term as Vice President. I chose not to run in 2004 to complete my education. I am ready for the job.
It is also crucial that the MN-S President have the right education and training to negotiate the complexities of agreements that need to be formalized on behalf of the Metis Nation. I attended the University of Saskatchewan where I studied Native Studies, Political Economy and Law. I have taken management training at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business.
MT: I have a very open and honest approach to dealing with people, it works well when trying to create and develop mutually beneficial relationships with all potential partners. I have sat on numerous boards and committees within the community and have a reputation for pushing the agenda and needs of the people. I will maintain a community approach to tackling issues which means “if it doesn’t work for the people, than we gotta find a better way.”I have been an advocate of sports and sport development so playing high level sports has shown the importance of working together as a team to be able to achieve things.I have worked with School divisions, various levels of government, First Nations leadership, and Health Regions and Industry. These relationship have always been mutually beneficial and enhanced the services and opportunities for our people. I will work with any and all people that want to move the nation forward in a positive way.
What do you see as the top 3 priorities of the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan today?
BF: First, we are currently lacking is vision, and leadership, we need to establish a common vision and goals for ourselves like we had at one time
Getting back to the grassroots, where Local members and common members are proud to belong to the organization
Restoring some dignity and order within the organization. We need to get back to being a politicized movement
KL: Self-sufficiency and self-determination are top priorities. I meld them together because one is not attainable without the other. In order for us to truly become self-governing we have to become independent of both levels of government. This will be a process. It is not going to happen overnight and we have to be realistic when looking at the outcomes. Our history has been that of entrepreneur, exporters, tradespersons and environmental stewards. It is in our blood to be independent and as such we have to return to that entrepreneurial spirit. We have to be realistic about the environmental stewardship. I cannot be totally against oil and gas pipelines, when I jump into my car and drive from point A to point B. I would be a hypocrite. What we can do is be responsible; we have to look at alternative clean and green energy sources which will not deplete our natural resources and destroy the environment. We grew food without potash for generations; we have to research and look at ways that will feed us with little impact to the environment.
Citizenship is a top priority. In order for us to fortify and strengthen the MN-S we have to identify our Citizens. The lack of return when it comes to the registry is unacceptable. We have to examine why our registry is not working and develop a process that is conducive to reaching our Citizens.
Over the years the MN-S has become a program delivery agency for government and our Métis rights agenda has taken a back seat. The timing for the MN-S, to again become the champions of Métis rights, is here and now. Whether I win or lose my challenge to our Citizens is to pick up the torch of those that have come before us, built this Nation on their backs, realize the vision they had for us and move the agenda forward for future generations. Only then will we leave a legacy. If not, the MN-S will have a model, strategy or framework rammed down our throats. WE must determine our own DESTINY!
CL: Administrative – Secretariat, Registry (independence from the MNS)
Governing documents; Review, update, propose amendments, bring forth to enact (Constitution, Metis Act, Code of Ethics, Roles and Responsibilities of the PMC, Harvesting Act, Registry Act. Development of an Independent Tribunal Act)
Accountability – Focus on inclusion, disclosure of minutes and financials, rebuild Local and Regional responsibilities in the Constitution, access to information about the current events, issues, agreements, negotiations on the internet via the website, social media, printed media. Investigate, research, develop and implement an Internal Independent Tribunal Panel where complaints related to the Constitution, or any Acts under the Metis Nation- Saskatchewan could be dealt with instead of court proceedings.
Catching up – Meet with the other Provincial Metis leaders to determine where they are at and find out what is working and what is not. Meet with government officials and review any and all agreements and obligations to re-establish an independent, credible and accountable Metis organization in Saskatchewan.
LDL:1. Re-building the strength, pride and unity of the Metis Nation.
2. Negotiations around Metis rights as per the Daniels decision as well our inherent rights to self determination and governance as a People. This includes the right to lands lost due to fraudulent practices and outstanding commitments.
3. Ensuring that the MN-S citizens enjoy the quality of life we all deserve as human beings through implementation of programs and services at the local and regional levels, and settlement of residential schools claims for Metis.
1) I see the Registry as one of the top things to get going. There are people that have been waiting 10-15 years for a Metis Card and we don’t have an official count of our people within the province.
2) Assessing the financial health of the organization and determining where we can move forward and what capacity we have to do that
3) Communication strategy to start communicating with our people in a meaningful way. There needs to be sharing of information to instill integrity, transparency and accountability back in the nation.
What is your strategy to engage at the Local/Regional Level?
BF: Re-establish our direction and vision which will re-invigorate our people
We must entre into Constitutional change which will create an environment where local and regions are required to participate
We should be hosting 1-2 MNLA per year – because right now we should. If that means finding funds to host our own meetings then we need to come together to make this happen and this will require a lot of action by the Locals and Regions
I can see this as a way to bring us together and create a bright future for the organization
KL: We have to return the voices and the ultimate authority back to the grassroots people. They are the ultimate power of the MN-S, not the leaders. The role of the leaders of this Nation is not to hold the ultimate authority, but to LISTEN, develop strategies, and frameworks that ensure the community’s intent and needs are addressed.
We must ensure we get into the communities and support our locals and our regions. We have to negotiate for program and service resources but then decentralize all programs and services.
The level of lateral violence in our community has got to be addressed; over the years this has become uncontrollable and sadly, the norm. It has been perpetuated by our leaders. We must create a new norm; we do not have to love each other or even like each other but we HAVE to RESPECT each other and each other’s opinions. On the other hand, we have to realize our leaders are only human. They will make mistakes but they have to own those mistakes and not deflect. The last thing is we have to celebrate. We have to celebrate and showcase the successes in our communities and within our Citizenship.
CL: I believe the biggest break down in our organization has been at the Regional and Local level. The constitution has not been followed in that the Regional Representatives have not been taking direction from their Regional Council. Participation of the Executive at Regional Council meetings would an excellent way to begin engagement.
Putting forth amendments to the Constitution regarding Roles and Responsibilities of the Regional Representatives need to include yearly set Regional Council meetings (eg. monthly, quarterly) that would have to include; minutes, record of motions, sign in sheets, etc
Communication is always the key,
LDL: It's actually pretty simple. We need to listen to what the locals need and help them achieve it. There are a multitude of available programs and services that locals and regions could be offering to their citizens and we need to assist them with achieving this. It is not our role to impose, but to be there with ideas. In addition, I have seen disillusioned Metis people on the campaign trail. They are tired of the fighting and it needs to stop.
MT: Developing an
engagement strategy with the regional directors to help build support and
capacity at the local level will need to happen which will include some board
and governance training and governance structures for the locals. we need to
including them within the overall communication strategy will be a necessity.
What would be your first priority for governance of the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan?
BF: We need a massive constitutional overhaul
We need to recreate a constitution that better represents us, that will require the participation of all locals and involvement of all people who are affected
Our electoral process need to be reviewed
The Regions and Locals need to be examined
The time has come where we need to review the entire governance structure and plan for this new urban governance that is that will be needed in the future. Example, we have a massive local in Saskatoon, with thousands of members, but only one voice. We need to think about how we structure this to account for the large populations that are represented in the urban centres
Membership review – we need to look at the definition of Métis and ensure that this is a way to engage Michif across the Province and ensure that we are separating our agenda from that of other Aboriginal cultures recognized in the Canadian Constitution
KL: Our first priority would be constitutional and legislative reform. This past term the Citizens of the MN-S have lost their voices. At the 2008 MNLA the Senate’s judiciary role was removed. It was never replaced and we find ourselves looking to the courts to settle our disputes. A province wide engagement process must be initiated to return the power to the people. We must develop legislation that will hold our leaders to the flame when it comes to conduct, accountability, transparency, roles and responsibilities. Ultimately, we are responsible to the Métis people in Saskatchewan; not the courts, the government or a “Financial Expert”.
CL: PMC Meeting
Getting to know the other elected representatives, their skillset, their natural abilities, interests, priorities.
Review and emphasize the importance of the preamble of the Metis Nation- Saskatchewan Constitution for all members of the PMC.
Round table discussion with all members of the PMC to determine priorities and develop an action plan.
LDL: My first priority for governance would be to strengthen the governing bodies of all of the representatives of the Metis Nation - Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly (MNLA) so that the MN-S can operate more efficiently. This means working with locals and regions to develop their capacity at the same time as developing a strategic plan with the Provincial Metis Council that we can take to the locals and regions. The Constitution needs to reflect today's reality and foster self-determination. It will be brought to the local and regional levels for examination as well as the MNLA and Annual General Meeting (AGM). There was a request at the last MNLA and AGM for a special meeting in the immediate future and it can be brought there.
MT: Assessments and
highlights of previous reports done to fix our governance structure and
constitution would need to be shared with the people of the nation so as to
find our path to move forward on the concerns raised. This would take a lot of
time to make sure the people are part of the process. Also looking at how we
can find efficiencies to eliminate wasted resources and service duplication.
How will you create unity within the Nation?
BF: Creating Unity through vision
We need to shift our thinking back to the idea that we are a movement. There’s a big difference between a government and a movement. We started as a movement, in an effort to protect and advance our Métis rights. We aren’t a government yet. We don’t have a tax base, we are 100% dependent on Federal and Provincial governments
We need to work together regain out title to our land – we are the only people in the Canadian Constitution that have not resolved our relationship with the Federal Government. To do this, we need to develop ourselves under our own design.
When you’re a movement there is no opposition, all of us North, South, East, West, old, young, man woman, it doesn’t matter all of us are expected to participate to lead us towards self-government.
We need to get back to focusing on Michif land, language, education, and health
We’ve become a glorified Friendship Centre in which we deliver programs, we have not become a Government. In this type of environment, of course we are going to start fighting each other. Who gets what job, who signs what check, that’s what’s been going on the last 15-20 years because we lost our vision.
It is time to identify and stay away from the history of self serving politics
KL: It is not up to the president to create unity, but they will be a conduit. Unity has to come from all of us. We have to look forward and we cannot continue to look back. “Upward and onward”, we cannot continue to drag the past with us. We have to concentrate on moving the Nation ahead.
Again, we have to address the lateral violence in our communities. We have to stop oppressing our own citizens. We need to realize we are all not going to agree about everything all the time, but that is alright and that is human nature. It has taken us years to get where we are and it is going to take time to undo this. We must take baby steps. We need to focus on fighting for our rights, fighting for our people and quit fighting each other. The federal and provincial governments are enjoying this because they are getting off the hook. This behaviour is a way for us to keep our citizens under our thumb and as leaders we must take up the charge to curb it.
CL: The basis of unity is communication. Being open to communication from others not just being the communicator.
Inclusion. So many of members have skills, education, experience and would like to participate. The Metis Nation-Saskatchewan PMC needs to utilize our members in areas they specialize in. Eg. A minister of Education within the PMC should have the capacity to call on Metis educators to create and support their ministry. These members could make recommendations, for funding, negotiating, etc.
LDL: I do not have ill feelings toward anyone and I am not affiliated with any of the so-called factions. I will respect and value everyone who gets elected as part of the PMC and we WILL put differences aside to work for all of the MN-S citizens. I have taken facilitator training and look forward to developing our team because everyone has unique talents. I respect everyone who had the courage to put their names forward to run for office. My door will be open for them as well as past and future leaders.
MT: The communication strategy would help to create awareness and showcasing the great things that have been happening within our communities province wide would need to happen. Not just the urban centers but showcasing the success stories and showing the developments of our people will help to show we are achieving things as a people and moving forward as a nation. We would need to work on having our relationships with all organizations and political entities restored to healthy working partnerships to show we are moving forward in a good way for the benefit of all people.
BF: Come out to vote! Last election we only had 2600 people who made an effort to vote, we used to have more people than that show up at our local meetings in Regina.
Vote for the candidate who will provide a direction and a vision for us
People need to get back involved in the movement. Without people, we will not have an organization for the future.