Métis Leaders to Meet on National Issues



    OTTAWA, Oct. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - The leaders of four of the five governing
members of the Métis National Council (MNC) announced that they will be
meeting in Ottawa next week to discuss how to best move the MNC forward and
their future relationship with the federal government. The four have also
confirmed a meeting with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Federal
Interlocutor for Métis while in Ottawa to discuss the outcome of their
meeting.
    The announcement came in the wake of the failure of the MNC General
Assembly to elect a National President at its meeting on October 13 and 14,
2007 leaving the Board of Governors without a quorum and an ability to make
decisions. Yesterday the Federal government announced it would not flow any
new funds to the MNC until this situation was rectified.
    "We realize the gravity of the circumstances and yesterday had already
set up meetings for the members of the Board of Governors next week in Ottawa,
Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President, Tony Belcourt said. "We need to act
quickly; we need to protect the staff working in Ottawa, and we need to work
together to ensure that the MNC is able to continue representing the 350,000 -
400,000 Métis Nation citizens across Canada."
    The four governing members, including Belcourt; Métis Nation British
Columbia (MNBC) President Bruce Dumont; Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA)
President, Audrey Poitras and Métis Nation - Saskatchewan (MN-S) President,
Robert Doucette, will be meeting on Wednesday, October 31, 2007 with officials
and with Rod Bruinooge, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Federal
Interlocutor for Métis. The four governing members have also invited President
of the Manitoba Métis Federation, David Chartrand, to attend the meetings.
    "It is up to us to move the MNC forward, to meet and to focus on a
solution," President Poitras said. "Above all, it is up to us to ensure that
the various programs and services delivered from the MNC to the provincial and
community levels continue to grow and thrive."
    While the federal government has committed to honour existing funding
deals, the four leaders are concerned about the future of many significant MNC
initiatives relating to Métis rights, health and labour market programming,
among others.
    "I think it is obvious that we need to work out some issues on a
leadership level," President Dumont said. "But what is also obvious is that as
leaders, the most important thing is for us to work together to overcome our
problems and to continue building the relationships we have developed on a
federal level."
    "We are at a crossroads," President Doucette concluded. "This is the time
for us to come together for the common good of the Métis community and develop
solutions that are based on fairness, democracy and the will of our people."




For further information:

For further information: Bruce Dumont, MNBC, (604) 219-0157; Audrey
Poitras, MNA, (780) 490-8188; Robert Doucette, MN-S, (306) 343-8285; Tony
Belcourt, MNO, (613) 791-5056


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