MÃ©tis Week in Alberta was initiated by the MÃ©tis Nation of Alberta (MNA) which fought with the UCP government and two northern MÃ©tis nations.
In a preemptive move, on November 15, just 30 minutes before Premier Jason Kenney and Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson signed a funding agreement with the MÃ©tis Nations of Fort McKay and Willow Lake, the MP posted a press release strongly condemning the Alberta government for getting involved in “a handful of irresponsible, undemocratic and illegitimate organizations.”
The province announced that the MÃ©tis Nations of Fort McKay and Willow Lake had received $ 372,000 through the Alberta Indigenous Litigation Fund to launch a constitutional challenge to federal Bill C-48, the moratorium on tankers. It protects a remote area of âânorthern British Columbia â Hecate Strait, Queen Charlotte Strait and Dixon Entrance â from the risk of a spill by prohibiting tankers from transporting more than 12,500 tonnes of crude oil. or certain other types of oil.
Federal legislation, like this one, “makes it more difficult for First Nations and MÃ©tis communities to implement long-term economic development projects,” Wilson said in a Twitter post.
The president of the deputy, Audrey Poitras, qualified the financing of “manifest manifestation of public money”.
Poitras accused Kenney of making “a bad decision”. She said the MNA is the “only recognized, accountable and democratically elected government of MÃ©tis citizens in Alberta.”
In 2019, the federal government signed MÃ©tis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreements with the MP, the MÃ©tis Nation of Ontario and the MÃ©tis Nation of Saskatchewan. The agreements “relate to the recognition of MÃ©tis competence in the main areas of governance (citizenship, selection of officers and government operations),” according to a press release from the federal government at the time.
The federal government also signed a framework agreement with the MÃ©tis Settlement General Council (MSGC) in 2018 to renew a government-to-government relationship. The MSGC is the governing body of the eight MÃ©tis settlements in northern Alberta.
Both Kenney and Wilson rejected Poitras’ claims to be the sole voice of the MÃ©tis in Alberta.
âWe work constructively with Indigenous groups across the province and I don’t think it’s reasonable for someone to say that every MÃ©tis community has to come to them for permission to have a point of view. (funding agreement), âKenney said.
He also argued that working with the two northern MÃ©tis nations did not prevent the province from working with the MP.
Kenney pointed out that Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services partnered with MNA last summer to administer the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines at five MÃ©tis clinics across the province.
âWe support all MÃ©tis people in Albertaâ¦. We have the MNA, we have the MÃ©tis settlements, and now we have the MÃ©tis groups here. There is not just one group that represents all of the MÃ©tis peopleâ¦. There are several MÃ©tis groups, âWilson said.
In 2020, Alberta Indigenous Relations granted the MÃ©tis of Fort McKay a âcredible assertionâ of Aboriginal harvesting rights, requiring the industry to consult with the MÃ©tis of Fort McKay when natural resource developments are considered in their traditional territory.
The Credible Affirmation Process, updated in December 2019 by the UCP, outlines nine points that, if followed by a MÃ©tis organization, commits Alberta to consult with that MÃ©tis organization on the management of Crown land. and resource development.
âThe difference between us and the MÃ©tis Nation of Alberta is that we are MÃ©tis rights holders,â said Ron Quintal, President of the Fort McKay MÃ©tis Nation. âThe rights of Fort McKay have been recognized through a credible affirmation process, which means that we are a recognized Powley community with harvest rights as well as consultation rights. The first community in Alberta history to be able to do this.
He said the Willow Lake MÃ©tis Nation was also on the cusp of achieving credible assertion status.
Quintal pointed out that neither Fort McKay nor Willow Lake were members of the MNA.
In fact, these two MÃ©tis nations, along with Athabasca Landing, Owl River, Lakeland, Chard and Edmonton, split from the MNA in 2020 to form the Alberta MÃ©tis Federation.
In a press release issued Monday by the province in recognition of MÃ©tis Week November 14-20, Wilson noted that Alberta has more than 114,000 MÃ©tis.
Poitras claims that the MNA represents more than 51,000 registered MÃ©tis.
“So I wonder who is the other half?” Said Justin Bourque, Vice President and CEO, Willow Lake MÃ©tis Nation. âI can assure you that within the Willow Lake MÃ©tis Nation, everyone in our community is a member of the Willow Lake MÃ©tis Nation and not a member of the MÃ©tis Nation of Alberta. ”
As for the funding provided to the MÃ©tis Nations of Fort McKay and Willow Lake by the province for legal action, Poitras said, âThe MP will be there to highlight how these individuals and organizations do not represent the MÃ©tis of Alberta. The courts will examine the credibility of these allegations. It is unfortunate that the premier of this province has not done so.
Kenney said Poitras was “actually inaccurate” in his claim that this proposed lawsuit would challenge federal legislation that guaranteed MÃ©tis consultation on the projects. He suggested that she was confusing Bill C-48 with Bill C-69, the Impact Assessment Act. In 2020, the province provided $ 187,688 to the Woodland Cree First Nation to intervene in support of the province’s constitutional challenge to this bill.
âThere was no consultation and there is no consultation framework in Bill C-48, the moratorium on oil tankers. This violates the constitutional principle of the Crown’s duty to consult, based on the honor of the Crown, and that is why we believe there is a credible legal claim to be made in this case, âKenney said.
Quintal’s take on Poitras’ claim was not so charitable.
âI don’t want to comment on the MÃ©tis Nation of Alberta because it’s a lot of nonsense. We are already in the midst of a number of disputes with the MÃ©tis Nation of Alberta and I don’t think it is appropriate for them to be able to condemn anything when they better look at themselves in the mirror s “They are going to condemn any kind of wrongdoing or inappropriate behavior,” Quintal said.