Prime Minister opens dialogue with Métis Nation

OTTAWA, Feb. 16 /CNW/ - In what has become an annual event, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has opened his door to National Aboriginal Leaders to discuss economic development and other pressing matters.  Métis National Council President Clément Chartier represented the Métis Nation at yesterday's meeting held on Parliament Hill. 

He told the Prime Minister, "the Métis Nation Protocol signed in 2008 set the foundation for a solid relationship between the Government of Canada and the Métis Nation." President Chartier added, "We are looking forward to working with your Ministers and we are open for business."

President Chartier indicated that the Métis Nation has been fully engaged in the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development which fits into the Métis Nation business model. The model is based on solid, professional management through economic development institutions such as Métis capital corporations offering small business loans, venture capital corporations and education and training centres including the Gabriel Dumont Institution. 

Federal Interlocutor for Métis, the Honourable John Duncan and the Minister responsible for Human Resource Development, the Honourable Diane Finley also attended the meeting, which lasted about an hour in the Prime Minister's office.

Last month, Minister Duncan hosted a very successful Métis Economic Development Symposium to which he invited his provincial counterparts from the five Western provinces, Métis Nation leaders and industry.

President Chartier explained, "the Métis Nation wants to bring the Symposium to the regional level to directly engage industry partners through round tables and trade shows. I believe the Métis Nation Protocol is an effective instrument which, for Canada and the Métis Nation, is yielding good dividends."

The first regional round table is being organized for next month in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

In addition to Métis Nation Economic Development projects, President Chartier also touched on certain employment and training matters, the outstanding Métis Residential School issue, struggles with Health Canada and support for Métis Veterans.

Prime Minister Harper listened closely to President Chartier's words offering welcome comments that the Métis should not fall through the cracks.  After President Chartier's discussion with the Prime Minister, he came away confident the infrastructure projects raised during the last meeting with the Prime Minister will soon be announced.

The MNC represents the Métis Nation in Canada at the national and international levels. The Métis Nation's homeland includes the 3 Prairie Provinces and extends into Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the northern United States. There are approximately 350,000 - 400,000 Métis Nation citizens in Canada, roughly a quarter of all Aboriginal peoples in the country.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at Images are free to accredited members of the media/.


For further information:

Robert McDonald,
Manager of Public & Political Relations
(613) 232-3216 ext 509
or (613) 292-8606 mobile

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