VANCOUVER, March 3, 2016 /CNW/ - MNC President Clément Chartier, AFN National Chief, Perry Bellegarde, and ITK Leader, Natan Obed, joined the Prime Minister and Premiers today to discuss the involvement of the Indigenous peoples in developing Canada's Climate Change and Clean Growth Strategy.
"Today's meeting marks an important first step in the engagement of the Métis Nation with the federal and provincial governments in tackling the formidable challenge of climate change, said President Chartier. " I appreciate the Prime Minister's commitment to involve the Métis Nation, the First Nations, and the Inuit in this critically important work on a Nation-to-Nation basis."
President Chartier was accompanied by fellow members of the MNC Board of Governors who had earlier concluded a two day strategy session focused on the new relationship with the Trudeau government. Board Members expressed their satisfaction at the outcome of the meeting on climate change and clean growth.
"I share the view of the Prime Minister that greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced as part of an overhaul of our economy," said MNC Vice-President and MMF President David Chartrand. "We have a rapidly growing youth population that needs jobs and we must focus our efforts on their training and employment in clean growth sectors."
"I am happy with today's initial meeting," said Métis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras. "In order for there to be a meaningful positive impact on climate change, the Métis Nation must play a key role and be at the table with Canada and the Provinces as a full partner."
"Métis people are connected to and part of the land, often the first to feel the affects of climate change", stated MNO President Gary Lipinski. "It is our right, duty and responsibility to join with others and deal with the global challenges that affect us all."
"The MNC's message was clear on how climate change is affecting the traditional way of life for our hunters and gatherers," said Métis Nation-British Columbia President Bruce Dumont. "Governments must fully engage with the Métis and our Section 35 Rights and Title across our homeland to effect change."
"Today we became part of a collaborative partnership to address Climate Change," said Women of the Métis Nation President Melanie Omeniho. "This was a very exciting first step to bring the Indigenous Rights Bearing community into a process that will ensure the protection of the environment, ongoing work in establishing a greener economy and ensuring that our communities are part of the research and development and the benefits of that in the future."
President Chartier told the First Ministers that the path forward on addressing climate change for the Métis people required respect for their section 35 Aboriginal rights, including the inherent right to self government and the right to be accommodated on environmental management and stewardship.
According to Chartier: "If Canada is serious about adopting a truly national framework on climate change, we as the Métis Nation, along with the First Nations and Inuit, must be full participants at the table. This means our full inclusion in the four working groups that are expected to develop the Climate Change and Clean Growth Framework – on carbon pricing, sectoral mitigation, adaptation and clean technology and jobs - as well as ensuring a nation-to-nation approach to solutions."
President Chartier also noted that "the challenge of climate change represents an opportunity for the Métis Nation to collaborate with the federal and provincial governments and the representatives of the other Indigenous governments in a manner consistent with our section 35 rights on the path to reconciliation".
Today's First Ministers Meeting with the Indigenous Leaders is part of the follow up to the commitments made by Canada on climate change in Paris last year. Building on these discussions, the Prime Minister will host a First Ministers meeting with the Premiers on March 3, 2016. According to Prime Minister Trudeau: "Canada's Indigenous peoples have a sacred relationship with the Earth. Their unique perspective will help guide us in developing policies that ensure our land, air and water are protected for future generations."
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 the contiguous parts of British Columbia, Ontario, the Northwest Territories and the United States. There are approximately 350,000 – 400,000 Métis Nation citizens in Canada, roughly a quarter of all Aboriginal peoples in the country.
SOURCE Métis National Council
For further information: Ke Ning, Métis National Council, c: (613) 297-5193, e: [email protected]