Funding reinstatement an expectation, not a shock: regional director
- Katie Doke Sawatzky | June 08, 2017
While news of the federal funding reinstatement for Métis Nation – Saskatchewan was breaking news last week, it didn’t come as a surprise to everyone, especially those who attended Provincial Métis Council meetings leading up to the MN-S election in May.
“For those of us who have been engaged and involved through the process, I don’t think this was a shock. I think that this was an expectation,” said Wendy Gervais, who is the newly elected Regional Director for Western Region 3.
On May 31, President Glen McCallum said the decision to reinstate funding was official after meetings that he and his council had with the federal government shortly after the election. The political organization will again have financial support, after a three-year suspension due to non-compliance with governance rules.
Gervais said that the plan to get back funding had been on the table for awhile.
“In these meetings, government had made it clear that once we went through the process of an election and … the MN-S had satisfied and met the obligations, that government would come back to the table and we would look at reinstatement of funding. So that process was put in place prior to the election,” said Gervais.
Even though she’s newly elected, Gervais knows the funding means good things are in store for her work within her region.
“I guess for me it allows us the ability to move forward with some form of stability,” she said. “[We’ll be able] to know that our main office in Saskatoon will be open, to know that we’ll be able to start moving towards the future, looking at what’s really important in our communities.”
Gervais couldn’t confirm what the exact dollar amount of the reinstatement will be but she said that in the PMC meetings she was part of before she was elected, there was discussion of an amount between $3.5 and $4.5 million.
Right now, Gervais is thinking about how to connect with the Métis communities in her region, which is the southwestern part of the province. She’s responsible for urban centres like Regina, Moose Jaw and Swift Current and the rural towns of Ponteix, Willow Bunch and Maple Creek.
“It’s trying to engage our Métis citizens and Métis community and once we … build that engagement by helping build the local … then from there that gives us opportunity to look at doing a needs assessment,” she said.