Province and the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan agree to work together
- NC Raine | December 08, 2023
Several major announcements were made at the 2023 Métis Nation Legislative Assembly (MNLA) over November 25 and 26 in Saskatoon.
Day one of the gathering was headlined by the signing of two memorandums of understanding (MOU) between the Government of Saskatchewan and the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S).
The first MOU signed was to collaborate on Firearms Safety Education. The collaboration will see the MN-S and the Government of Saskatchewan coordinate education efforts to Métis citizens on existing and incoming firearms laws, as well as to encourage and facilitate members in becoming fully licensed and legally compliant firearms owners.
The MOU also states the two parties will work to minimize unnecessary criminalization of individuals for regulatory offences.
The Government of Saskatchewan will also provide funding for an agreement for a position within the MN-S aimed at firearm education.
“It is important to us as politicians – we come and go, but relationships between (these governments) last so much longer,” said Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe during the assembly.
The second MOU signed between the two governments was Educating the Saskatchewan Public Service about the Métis. The purpose of the MOU will be to formalize, enhance, and expand the relationship between the MN-S and the Saskatchewan Public Service Commission (PSC)
“We will continue to work and collaborate and examine ways that the public service and (the MN-S) can work together on increasing the presence of Métis people within the provincial government,” said Moe. “Not only will this focus on increasing Métis presence, but also education throughout the (PSC) on the importance of Métis people in Saskatchewan.”
The MOU also states the two parties will create a shared understanding of the current educational resources in the public services to educate employees about Métis history and collaborate on developing and delivering those resources.
“This was a pivotal MNLA for our government as we continue to see the fruits of our labour come to be,” said MN-S President Glen McCallum.
In McCallum’s state of the nation address, he stated they now have over 30,000 members registered in Saskatchewan out of roughly 80,000 Métis people in the province, and about 15,000 Métis
businesses in Saskatchewan.
He said the MN-S will continue to work on building connections with the provincial and federal governments, and speaking with one voice that earns people’s trust and respect.
“We will support the regions, the locals in regards to what they need,” said McCallum. “We have a track record that we can get the best deal. There’s nothing we cannot do in this province.”
Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark also addressed the MNLA. He said the city deliberated about creating a new shelter for people struggling with addictions. The facility will focus on helping people connect to supports and transition to housing, rather than being kept in police cells, he said.
“The more we can work together and recognize that these are health-related, not about criminality,” said Clark. “People need help.”
Cassidy Caron, President of the Métis National Council, updated the MNLA on talks with the federal government on Bill C-53, an act respecting the recognition of certain Métis governments, give effect to treaties, and make consequential amendments to other acts.
“We look forward to the passing of Bill C-53 as our next step forward of the Métis nation,” said Caron.
“Self-government is an inherent Métis right. We have always had self determination as Métis people. And with Bill C-53, that is now creating a pathway for the implementation of self-government. It is not giving us our rights, we have our rights as Métis people,” she said.