Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An Interesting Blog ...

This blog shares some interesting views on topics that have been here as well. Enjoy the read.....

The Conservative "Secret Agenda" Not As Secret As It Used To Be

and the blog on

Thoughts On Duffy


Aboriginal Money – Who is exploiting what?


Federal Spending on Aboriginal People

There is a great deal of talk about the waste of Tax Dollars from Canadians and the lack of accountability for those dollars.

Métis Mama believes that fiscal accountability is important but so is political accountability. It is not just important for Aboriginal leaders but all elected leaders – mainstream and otherwise.

I did some research into the situation because we continue to hear about the billions of dollars that have been allocated to Aboriginal people. For many of us – those dollars are not evident in our communities. It is easy for us to identify bad leadership as the reason for all of our problems – but things really are never that simple.

Truthfully, I am of the belief that resources in the way of financial are not always the solution. Based on the value of resources that appear to be expended on our behalf – we should be the problem free – but an assessment of the resources becomes necessary. At the following website there is disclosure of the budget for the department of Indian and Northern Affairs for 2007 – 2008. This would be the resources that were expended under “Aboriginal” by the Federal Government up until March 31, 2008.

The total budgetary amount available for use is: $7,372,034,338.00. That is 7 billion – three hundred and seventy two million dollars for those that don’t want to count commas.

There is another 134,876,519.00 was expended in non-budgeted expenses.

The First Nations Statistical Analysis Institute [FNSAI] received 4,888,000 dollars. Who is the First Nations Statistical Analysis Institute? – They are an arm of Statistics Canada that the Federal Government set up early in 2006. The board and directive of this institute is determined by government.

The Canadian Polar Commission received 1,015,933 dollars. Who is the Canadian Polar Commission – Another Federal Government department that has the mandate to - The Canadian Polar Commission's mandate requires is to monitor polar knowledge in Canada and around the world. I am not sure how that is the responsibility of just the Aboriginal people of Canada – it should be of interest to all Canadians.

The Indian Claims Commission received 6,476,313 dollars. Who is the Indian Claims Commission? They are mandated to help First Nations and the federal government settle claims. Located in Ottawa, the Commission has a staff of approximately 51 people and a budget of $6.9 million (fiscal year 2005-2006). The Commission's day-to-day operations are carried out by a Management Committee which reports to the Commissioners.

Under the Office for Residential School Program $3,732,160 dollars were for Federal Government employee benefits. (This does not include salaries.) The Operating Expenditures on this program are listed at 453 million dollars. This was to conduct 1.3 billion dollars in residential school claims.

This is just a few things that I was able to quickly pull out of the 500 plus page document. My point to each of you – as much as the various Aboriginal representative groups receive money and need to be accountable – much of what we hear is actually money that the Federal Government expends in making Aboriginal people an economic resource and the sustainability of many public servants jobs.

In addition to these things that are mentioned are dollars for instance that we hear are for things like off-reserve funding for Aboriginal housing. Much of that money is actually allocated to the various provincial and territorial governments who then take their administrative piece of the pie and then the money is often transferred to municipal governments or agencies who then take their piece of administrative bureaucracies and then the money is allocated to property developers hands and the monitoring and accountability of those dollars does not have to stand the same test of outcomes and measures that many of the Aboriginal representative organizations must live up to. They are also not under the same policy of only using 12% for administration. Once a provisional government places these ‘Aboriginal Housing’ dollars into their general revenue accounts with the rest of their transfer payments – they become impossible to track.

Aboriginal people provide many opportunities for the development of infrastructure and bureaucracy in governments. The next time you hear about an Aboriginal program – remember the governments of this country almost consume 30 – 50% of those resources for their own use.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

More on the Senate of Canada

I see a heated debate looms over this matter. Debate is always good – it makes us critical thinkers and debating our views or ideologies either assists us from seeing things from another perspective or assists us in changing our views. Just a short word of caution – we can do it respectfully and with the appreciation that we all have different views … its’ allowed.

To JJ Carroll - I am not suggesting that Aboriginal people in the upper house is not a good thing – but I will not share the view that because an Aboriginal person is appointed to a position he is above discussion, debate or review. My entire point is that Patrick was given the appointment due to his criticism of the other political leaders and their lack of accountability. I do not pretend not to support this view myself .. you would only need to read past posts to know that I have some of those very criticisms about some of the Aboriginal leaders across Canada. My issue is “Do Not Be A Hypocrite!”

The first hypocrisy in this appointment is Prime Minister Harper’s. Senate reform in the upper house is going to require people who "Walk Their Talk". The debate around Senate reform has gone on since 1874. The first indicator that Harper was not committed to his party’s ideology on Senate reform was when he appointed Michael Fortier when he first got elected so he could bring him into the Caucus without running for election in a democratic process. Senate Reform requires Constitutional changes … as we have seen since Meech Lake and the Charlottetown Accord no government has wanted to tackle the debate on real Constitutional change.

Unfortunately a recent poll identified that most Canadians are completely unaware of the governmental structures and the context of the Canadian Constitution. We seem to have very few incidents that help Canadians understand the structure of the Constitution and its’ meaning never mind the role and responsibility of the Senate.

The next hypocrisy – which is where this debate started is Patrick Brazeau – those who don’t live in glass houses – shouldn’t throw stones or be willing to hear the cracking glass if someone points it out. Patrick is engaged as a leader of an organization that is entrenched with its’ own accountability issues. Integrity – politically and fiduciary – have been sighted in the Congress of Aboriginal People. I am not the first person to point this out – nor will I be the last.

I also would like to clarify that I quite frankly do not care what he makes as an income – My issue is with him continuing to collect a salary from CAP and the Senate – it is a Conflict of Interest. In fact, the Prime Minister can double the salary of the Senate if he would like but you can not be the leader of the Congress of Aboriginal People and the Conservative Senator and serve two masters.

The other issue that I would like to bring clarity to at this point is there have been many Aboriginal people that sat in the Senate of Canada – Patrick Brazeau is not the first.

  • Adam Willies is an Inuk Member of the Senate and is one of the longest standing members of the upper house at this time. Liberal
  • Senator Lillian Eva Dyck is a member of the Gordon First Nations in Saskatchewan and has been in the Senate since 2005; New Democrat
  • Senator Nick G. Sibbeston is an Aboriginal person from the Northwest Territories has served in the Senate since 1999; Liberal
  • Senator Gerry St. Germaine is a Métis man from British Columbia who was appointed in 1993; Progressive Conservative
  • Senator Charlie Watt from Fort Chimo, Quebec has served in the Senate since 1984. Liberal
  • Senator Sandra Lovelace Nicholas is a First Nations woman from New Brunswick that was appointed in 2005. Liberal

Some of the Past Aboriginal Senators were:

  • Senator Richard Charles Hardisty was a Métis man from the Northwest Territories and was the first Aboriginal person appointed to the house in 1888; - Conservative
  • Senator William Boucher - Métis man from Saskachewan - Liberal
  • Senator James Gladstone – First Nations man from Alberta - Independent Conservative
  • Senator Guy Williams – First Nations man from British Columbia - Liberal
  • Senator Leonard (Len) Marchand – First Nations man from British Columbia - Liberal
  • Senator Walter Twinn – First Nations man from Alberta - Progressive Conservative
  • Senator Thelma Chalifoux – Métis woman from Alberta (First Métis woman appointed to the Senate) - Liberal
  • Senator Aurélien Gill is a First Nations man from Quebec that was appointed in 1998; - Liberal

Now it is an impressive list of past and present Senators who have a variety of experiences and backgrounds. This once again brings me to the point – we do not have to have a party because an Aboriginal person gets an appointment deserved or otherwise – we have many honourable Aboriginal people who make us proud each day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Senator Patrick Brazeau - who do you answer to now?

  • Patrick Brazeau's Senate appointment comes as no surprise, observers say


    Young senator qualifies for pension that is ‘ticket to the good life'


    Now as things go … we as Aboriginal people are suppose to be overjoyed that Mr. Patrick Brazeau has been named as an Aboriginal person to the Senate of Canada. Thirty- Four year old Patrick will be able to remain in the Senate until he turns 75 years old or retires.

    Now he does indicate that he can not fathom himself at 75 – but let’s be honest – which 34 year old person can? Harper has also indicated that Patrick has said all the right things and done all the right things because he has publicly supported the Conservatives while criticizing the other Chiefs and Councils for their lack of accountable and transparent governance. I have my opinion on these matters too – but for the time let’s stay focused on Mr. Brazeau and accountability.

    Is the Congress of Aboriginal People more accountable or even as accountable as some of the other Aboriginal organizations? Let us do a quick assessment. Who are the members of the Congress of Aboriginal People?

    The CAP website says:

    “The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is a nationally incorporated umbrella organization that represents the interests, nationally, of its provincial and territorial affiliate organizations across Canada.” … “CAP, itself, does not have individual memberships or provide programs and services directly to individuals. In effect, the "members" of CAP are its affiliate organizations.”

    “The affiliates of CAP are provincial and territorial organizations (PTOs) that have applied at various times since 1971 to formally and legally associate themselves with CAP (or the former Native Council of Canada) as their national representative body. Each affiliate has its own constitution and is separately funded under the federal Aboriginal Representative Organization Program (AROP). CAP's bylaws require affiliation be limited to one organization per province or territory. In effect, these affiliates are the corporate members of CAP, which does not, itself, have individual memberships.”

    In Quebec the PTO represents 26,000 eligible members – where there does not appear to be any ballot box elections.

    In Saskatchewan there is no evidence of who are members, how many members exist and how the leadership accounts to the communities they say they represent – but in fairness to this PTO they have just come into the arena and have not been around that long – maybe democratic accountability will be a part of what they use to define themselves.

    In Manitoba the research has left us a little baffled if an affiliate even really exists. In fact, President Brazeau in a document in October of 2008 is questioning their ability to be accountable and transparent. The group did work with the NWAC affiliate in Manitoba in 2004 to complete a health research initiative and also received funding in April of this fiscal year from OFI but how they are elected and who their members are is not readily available.

    In Newfoundland the affiliate group identifies by saying they represent 10,000 non-registered Mi’Kmaq (500 are identified as General Members) There is no identification of when there are elections for the Federation of Newfoundland Indians or the criteria of who gets to elect them.

    In New Brunswick the organization kindly identifies itself through its’ bylaws on its’ website. Through a mail in ballot – full members get to elect their leadership in something called the Universal Suffrage Process.

    The Native Council of Nova Scotia, much like New Brunswick uses the Universal Suffrage Process for elections.

    In Prince Edward Island there are three regions that select twenty delegates to attend an Assembly and through the Assembly the 6 representatives are elected.

    In Ontario in 2007 a new affiliate was established after the previous affiliate had issues related to financial accountability. The new group has some elected and some appointed officials. The elected officials are elected at an Assembly.

    In British Columbia the provincial organization claim a membership of 11.000 but identifies that it speaks on behalf of 90,000. The representatives are elected at Annual Meetings where delegates are chosen or appointed.

    There are no Provincial affiliates in Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alberta and Nunavit that is listed on the CAP website. If you do some swift inquiries in many of the affiliate areas where they claim to represent the Aboriginal population – they do not know of or have involvement nor have they ever mandated this organization. So the question would be – is an audited financial statement the only requirement of accountability or transparency?

    Now accountability to government for tax dollars is important and I do advocate that it is necessary but political accountability is just as valid or in some instances more important.

    As a Métis person living in a large urban centre, Mr. Brazeau has claimed to represent me and my interests. Let me be clear to him and any others that tell you that – YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT!!!! I do not participate in your political structure, hold membership in any affiliate or other organizational structures and just because I happen to be an urban Aboriginal person – I have not asked for your tail gating and collection of Aboriginal dollars on my behalf.

    When Chief Brazeau introduces himself he clearly identifies that he represents 800,000 off-reserve Indian, Inuit, and Metis people living in Canada. When did those people get to say they want you to represent them?

    The other issue with the various provincial entities is there is no consistency in their structures, accountability back to the communities and communication with their constituencies. Historically, prior to Harper government – there has been a great deal of concern and speculation around fiscal accountability for program dollars that were received through the CAP affiliates and those things have never been responded to its’ constituents.

    Now Chief Brazeau believes he should keep his elected position which at the end of the day – earns him most likely in excess of $100,000 dollars per year. In addition to his new senate salary of $130,000 a year – we are probably looking at salaries of approximately a quarter of a million dollars a year. That will not include the benefits, pensions, additional committee compensation and travel. Not bad for an Aboriginal brown faced boy. But if that doesn’t make you go hmmmm …. Then ask yourself – how do you serve two masters? Harper or your constituents? When Harper doesn’t like Aboriginal people looking to negotiate a better policy – like the Kelowna Accord – which master will he support?

    Conflict of Interest takes on a new meaning for some – but Patrick doesn’t see it yet.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Some Interesting questions about rights and things …!

Last week was the 60th Anniversary for the Universal Declaration for Human Rights. Sixty years and where are we at today.

This weekend a survey of Canadians was done and guess what – as proud Canadians we did not even know our own countries political structure – an example of questions was - When asked if they get to elect the Prime Minister – they responded “Yes”. (Not based on the ballot I seen in the election a couple of months ago.)

Some scary results clearly demonstrated that most Canadians do not know – and may not even care about their political structure, what our democracy looks like, what our constitutions says, what is really in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms…?

This is just some thoughts on the issues that make one go hmmmm…

Do we defend rights that we do not know we have?

Are human rights for me different then the rights of an individual who may be living in a socially different culture and economy?

Has the human rights agenda driven policies completely ignored because we live in a country of privilege and it is easier to turn away from those things we do not want to see?

How many Canadian even know what the Charter of Right and Freedoms are?

How do I as an Aboriginal person – make others understand what we are working for when they have no value for what we already have?

Do we – as Canadians – not have a responsibility to know who we are, how we are structured and the rights that we apparently hold so dear? In fact, I bet because of American literature, media and news – most Canadians know more about the American Declaration of Independence then they do about our own governing documents!

Where are our educational institutions in teaching about the Canadian system of governance, policy and law?

Just one of those cold days contemplating …. Hmmm!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Canada Must Respect the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


Vancouver (Coast Salish Territory) – On December 10, 2008 (United Nations HumanRights Day), the United Nations celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UN Declaration”) affirms that ‘Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law’.

Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand were the only nations to vote against the UN Declaration when it was adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 13, 2007. The Canadian government has continued to oppose the UN Declaration, actively undermining the international human rights system.

On December 9, 2008, Canada again joined with the United States, Australia and New Zealand to oppose references to the UN Declaration and to the rights of Indigenous peoples in a decision on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), which was drafted by government delegates at the UN Climate Change Conference in Poznań, Poland.

“This latest effort by Canada to oppose the UN Declaration and the rights of Indigenous peoples is part of a disturbing pattern”, stated Grand Chief Edward John, Political Executive Member of the First Nations Summit, “Within Canada, and internationally, the federal government has shown no respect for recognizing and upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples”.

“On the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we call upon Canada to endorse and fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, stated Chief John.-30-The First Nations Summit speaks on behalf of First Nations involved in treaty negotiations in British Columbia.

Further background information on the Summit may be found at www.fns.bc.ca.

For Further Information:
Colin BrakerCommunication Director
First Nations Summit: Office: 604.926.9903/Cell: 604.328.4094

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Changing Campaigns

Election Day in British Columbia is on Saturday and the Official Count in Alberta is completed. The Conservatives have called for a Federal Election and the campaign trails are changing.

Blogging has become a new campaign era – people are wanting to share their political views with others and find other like thinking people who may take the time to convince those of us that are not sure. Democracy is about the right to choose who reflects the current issues that are important to us – the electorate. So in idealistic terms – this is great and all should be available to assist us to be critical thinkers and make an informed choice.

The disturbing part is how – what begins as sharing – becomes deceit, name calling, condemning and derogatory personal character assassinations of individuals – many of whom are not even seeking election. There have been many in Alberta, including elders who have been a victim of such unethical types of persecution. The cowards that have hid behind a political campaign to do this have tried to hide their deception of their maliciousness by then deleting the public posts within a couple of weeks or in some instances days.

Many of the contributors to these attacks stood behind pseudonyms but as in all good technology things are traceable and the deleting of posts is only completed once hard copies of things are made. There is talk of the pursuit of lawsuits that will follow shortly. As for RCMP investigations – the only investigation is the economic crimes of some of the political leaders in relationship to their questionable activities around the infamous health dollars and the aggressive assaults that were allegedly perpetrated at one of the polls by Mr. Trevor Gladue supporters. I will post updates to these issues if they are pursued and as things come to light in relationship to the issues that are factual.

I do want to add at this point that in Alberta – we have weathered the storm and as a result – we have a very strong elected Provincial Council who will begin working together to address issues that are around moving the Métis Agenda forward. The majority of the dissidents have been taken out and the interference of President Chartrand will have to be abandoned so that the importance of our priorities will be what we move forward on.

In the meantime, for those in British Columbia your responsibility is to get involved and vote on Saturday. Be involved and assert your right to vote and choose who best represents your values and priorities.

For the others – learn who is running in the Federal Election and make a choice that will have a government elected that is willing to work with the Métis people. The various parties all have policies that identify their position on Aboriginal people and what their philosophies are in regard to the future of the aboriginal community. Based on your beliefs or what you feel is important – make an informed choice. As for our elected National leaders – do not support any one political partisan agenda – your job is to support the Métis agenda. Each of you are in ownership of bylaws or constitutions that clearly identify that we should never have any affiliation with any partisan politics.

Just a few thoughts for the day.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Many words have been shared over many forms over Métis Mama’s silence. Some have been entertaining and some have been enlightening but some have been disheartening. There are a few things that I feel like sharing now:

Everyone has a vision – everyone has an opinion – even those that may sit in silence – have a view. My view is no more important then anyone else’s but it is sharing that view which brings us to a place of wonder. Some of the political views that have been shared over our political process have been closer to bullying and violence. I realize that the Métis Nation was a nation of passion and the belief of what is right and the protection of those very rights – but did our forefathers envision a nation of people that would become violent and bullying the weakest parts of our community?

Some of what I did discern during our election in Alberta was that people somehow felt that they are not involved in a decisive way in the direction of their nation. They talked about the obscure communication and that they were not aware. Let’s start there. I realize that communication is a two prong action – telling and listening. If you tell and no one is listening – communication breaks down. My point will easily be made in what I witnessed last month. There was a very large report presented, along with the Métis Otipemisiwak Magazine, Audited Financial Statements and supporting materials at the Alberta Métis Assembly in Red Deer.

The report itself was 147 pages big and contained Ministerial Reports on 15 Ministries and the progress and priorities of each of them; affiliate reports on Apeetogosan, Métis Nation Wilderness Camp, Métis Urban Housing, Métis Crossing, Métis Child and Family Services, Métis Holdings, Métis Historical Society and Cree Production, Each Region had their newly developed Business Plans – including objectives and measures for the future priorities of the Region.

The Ministerial Reports included the areas of Métis Rights and Citizenship, Labour Market, Education, Housing, Justice and Culture, Renewable Resources and Energy, Agriculture, Women and Youth, Veterans and Seniors, Métis Land Issues, Family and Wellness and Economic Development. The Otipemisiwak Magazine provided updates on the Harvesting issues and the Duty to Consult. At the Assembly there was information on project based activities like the Land Use Framework, FASD initiatives, Michif Language Initiatives, Diabetes and Health projects, etc. The President’s report contained information and highlights of achievements over the past year. The list is endless and goes on – but yet we know nothing; see nothing and provide a response that we are not aware.

Does anyone actually read these reports? Would we even know if there was an issue that we need to get involved in or maybe that we missed - some important issue where we need to develop a new portfolio? How would we know – because we quit listening! I am not saying this just for others – I have too.

Now back to communication being a two pronged approach – why are we not telling, verbally, what we are doing? Why doesn’t everyone know? For those communicating – that is what we should be hearing at the Assembly. Yes the President gives a comprehensive report but where are these Ministers? The only real Ministerial reports presented – were Citizenship and Finance. Every Minister should have a report, a comprehensive understanding of their portfolio and response as to their involvement within those reports. They should have a presentation that would identify the priorities of the portfolio and the achievements. The written reports should be available, along with the Business Plan of each Portfolio on a website – so that every Métis person can access them.

Each Region should also have their reports, achievements and priorities laid out and presented even if it is by having a display table with written information at the Assembly and once again available on line.

As for the Métis people – we have a responsibility to listen. Read the damn reports, be a critical thinker – but at least read the reports. Provide input into priorities and direction – send a letter, send an email, stop by an office – go to consultations and meetings – get involved and be a listener – not just an arm chair critic.

Everyone is busy – but I did notice that we were not too busy to listen to the gossip of what was wrong with someone else. The internet during this past election was not used as a tool to set priorities but rather it was used to defame, malign and destroy people. Amazingly – not even people who were running for election. If our children were to watch our behaviours as of late – we would be in the corner on a time out for a very long time. The future of the Métis in Alberta is bright – we have come far and we are forging ahead. Become a responsible electorate and get involved.

For those who were successful – congratulations – but for the newly elected that congratulations is obviously a double edged sword. There are always far more criticisms then solutions and your new position does not come with a magic wand of miracles – just hard work and a long road to move us forward. Maybe start with a new portfolio called the Communication and Proclamation Portfolio.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Good Day Message

Good Day Fellow Métis:

It is time to come back into the fold and bring some good news to the Métis people across the homeland.

Alberta Métis are celebrating the re-election of their leader, Audrey Poitras. There has been two years of turmoil, lies, deceit, personality assignations and an attempt to undo the wonderful work of a leader who brought our organization from being a small debt ridden society to being a proud nation with respect and integrity amongst the various governments and the Métis people.

There are many things that we need to do now but at this point my advise to each of the elected or re-elected Provincial Council is become a collective. We have some issues that will be reviewed and addressed. Those issues will come to light soon enough and the wrong doings of the past will be laid at the feet of those who own the disgrace of their actions. As for the rest, work together for the good of the Métis people in Alberta – be accountable to the Métis people. We are a strong nation of people, with a proud history – move the nation forward so we can continue to want to be a part of the future and leave the same proud legacy for the future generations.

For those that were offered employment and opportunity if Trevor would have been the leader I tell you now – we are a province and nation that is rich with resource – get involved there is opportunity for many people. The Métis Nation, as well as the rest of the Aboriginal community often open employment opportunities for our community take advantage of those opportunities and work with pride to serve your nation. The issues that were brought forward related to areas where people feel more services are needed and priority should be given – develop those ideals and work to establish those programs.

For the candidates who were unsuccessful, don’t be embittered. The nation will move forward and become involved at a community level. For some of you – learn that the mud slinging, undignified campaign tactics were demeaning to us all take the time to develop, heal and contribute to the nation in the actions that you do so you can present yourselves as strong leaders with a vision for the Métis Nation. We all need to learn from our experiences and pasts so that we can move forward into a better future.

For the unofficial results of the election: http://www.metis.org/getdoc/1beefb76-5aef-4de8-8aac-78b69dbd6477/2008-General-Election-Results.aspx

Thursday, May 29, 2008

6 Decades Later and Human Rights

State of the World’s Human Rights a Report from Amnesty International

The press release can be found at http://www.nationtalk.ca/modules/news/print.php?storyid=9984

The 2008 report can be found at http://thereport.amnesty.org/eng/Homepage

60 Years of Human Rights Failure -- Governments Must Apologise And Act Now

28 May 2008 (London) Amnesty International today challenged world leaders to apologize for six decades of human rights failure and re-commit themselves to deliver concrete improvements.

“The human rights flashpoints in Darfur, Zimbabwe, Gaza, Iraq and Myanmar demand immediate action,” said Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International, launching AI Report 2008: State of the World’s Human Rights.

“Injustice, inequality and impunity are the hallmarks of our world today. Governments must act now to close the yawning gap between promise and performance."

Amnesty International’s Report 2008, shows that sixty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations, people are still tortured or ill-treated in at least 81 countries, face unfair trials in at least 54 countries and are not allowed to speak freely in at least 77 countries.

“2007 was characterised by the impotence of Western governments and the ambivalence or reluctance of emerging powers to tackle some of the world’s worst human rights crises, ranging from entrenched conflicts to growing inequalities which are leaving millions of people behind,” said Ms Khan.

Amnesty International cautioned that the biggest threat to the future of human rights is the absence of a shared vision and collective leadership.

“2008 presents an unprecedented opportunity for new leaders coming to power and countries emerging on the world stage to set a new direction and reject the myopic policies and practices that in recent years have made the world a more dangerous and divided place,” said Ms Khan.

Amnesty International challenged governments to set a new paradigm for collective leadership based on the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“The most powerful must lead by example,” said Ms Khan.

  • China must live up to the human rights promises it made around the Olympic Games and allow free speech and freedom of the press and end “re-education through labour”.
  • The USA must close Guantánamo detention camp and secret detention centres, prosecute the detainees under fair trial standards or release them, and unequivocally reject the use of torture and ill-treatment.
  • Russia must show greater tolerance for political dissent, and none for impunity on human rights abuses in Chechnya.
  • The EU must investigate the complicity of its member states in “renditions” of terrorist suspects and set the same bar on human rights for its own members as it does for other countries.

Ms Khan warned: “World leaders are in a state of denial but their failure to act has a high cost. As Iraq and Afghanistan show, human rights problems are not isolated tragedies, but are like viruses that can infect and spread rapidly, endangering all of us.”

“Governments today must show the same degree of vision, courage and commitment that led the United Nations to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights sixty years ago.”

“There is a growing demand from people for justice, freedom and equality.”

Some of the most striking images of 2007 were of monks in Myanmar, lawyers in Pakistan, and women activists in Iran.

“Restless and angry, people will not be silenced, and leaders ignore them at their own peril,” said Ms Khan.


  1. Amnesty International’s Report 2008, the organization’s annual global assessment of human rights, published on the 60th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, covers 150 countries.
  2. The report highlights the following trends:
  • Targeting of civilians by armed groups and government forces with impunity;
  • Pervasive violence against women;
  • Promotion of torture and ill-treatment as acceptable modes of intelligence gathering;
  • Suppression of dissent and attacks on journalists and activists;
  • Lack of protection for refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants;
  • Denial of economic and social rights; and
  • Evasion of corporate accountability for human rights abuses.

3. Amnesty International noted the progress made over the last six decades, in particular laws and institutions on human rights, growing support for an end to the death penalty, prosecution of some cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity by international tribunals and national courts.

4. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations on 10 Dec 1948.

5. Re-education through labour is a system of punitive detention imposed by the police for up to four years without charge, trial or judicial review in China.

The Government is trying to address some of the disparity in the areas of human rights in Canada - the Government has passed the third reading on Bill C-21 to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act.


Statement by The Honourable Chuck Strahl in Relation to Bill C-21, An Act to Amend The Canadian Human Rights Act

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(May 28, 2008) - The following statement was released by the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians related to Bill C-21:

"I am very pleased that Bill C-21 - our government's legislation that extends real human rights protections to all members of First Nations communities - received Third Reading and passage by the House of Commons today and is now before the Senate.

Bill C-21, an Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act is the culmination of a concerted effort by the federal government, Aboriginal groups and individuals, and Parliamentarians to bring an end to a legislative gap that has shamefully left many First Nations people without full access to the Canadian Human Rights Act for 30 years. Our government believes that delivering real human rights to First Nations peoples, as this Bill does, is much more important and tangible than any aspirational document.

I would like to thank all parties who were involved in this historic process. I am confident that Senators will give this bill the priority it deserves.

Through the hard work and dedication of numerous stakeholders, we are now significantly closer to ensuring that all Canadians have full access to fundamental human rights protections.

For more information,

please contact

Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl

Josee Bellemare

Press Secretary 819-997-0002


Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Media Relations 819-953-1160

Good Day - We are Back

Sorry we have been away on a bit of a holiday for the past week and have just now been back to review the comings and goings.

A press release was issued yesterday from the Métis Nation of Alberta as follows:

http://www.nationtalk.ca/modules/news/article.php?storyid=9946 or at

MEMORANDUM TO: Métis Citizens and Harvesters
FROM: Audrey Poitras, President, Métis Nation of Alberta
DATE: May 27, 2008

RE: Update on Métis Nation’s ‘Hunt for Justice’
I am writing to provide Métis Nation of Alberta citizens an update on our ongoing Métis rights ‘hunt for justice’ in Alberta.

The MNA continues to actively defend all of our harvesters who have been charged by the Alberta Government, while following our MNA Harvesting Policy.

We have over 17 Métis harvesters charged now, with this number increasing each month. The Alberta Government has charged Métis Elders, entire families, single mothers, community harvesters and Métis youth. Moreover, we have charges from across the province – Lac La Biche, Valleyview, Breton, Fort MacMurray, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Cochrane, Hinton, Red Deer are just some of these locations.

Our Métis lawyers – Jason Madden and Jean Teillet – have advised me that the Deputy Chief Judge of the Alberta Provincial Court has now designated one Judge – the Honourable Judge John Maher – to case manage (i.e. oversee) all of the Métis harvesting cases. Based on this development, all of the existing Métis harvesting cases and all future cases will be moved to Edmonton (Sherwood Park) and overseen by Judge Maher there.

This is a positive development because it has alleviated the pressure the MNA has had in having to arrange for agents to make court appearances for our harvesters, as the various charges come up in court locations across the province. As well, all of the matters moved to Edmonton will be adjourned, pending the outcome of our test case, so we will not have to proceed with defending cases across the province. Equally important, Judge Maher is attempting to make the management of these charges as efficient as possible, so we are able to have our day in court sooner rather than later.

Currently, our legal counsel is attempting to arrive at an agreement with the Crown on what charges will proceed as a consolidated ‘test case’. Since the Alberta Government is taking the position that there are absolutely no Métis rights in central and southern Alberta, we have confirmed that we will be combining existing cases out of the Cypress Hills region and Lethbridge.

We are also attempting to consolidate charges we have from the Calgary and Buffalo Lake areas into the ‘test case’. Presently, the Crown is resisting this, since it will likely ensure than any decision will have to deal with a larger Métis community, rather than simply a localized one around Medicine Hat. However, since including the charges from the Calgary and Buffalo Lake areas will not increase the amount of evidence that will have to be presented or the court time needed, we are hopeful an agreement to include these charges will be reached.

It is also important to note that our Métis rights ‘test case’ will also directly challenge Ted Morton’s unilateral and arbitrary Métis Harvesting Policy currently in place that is in place in northern Alberta. Ted Morton’s policy attempts to limit Métis harvesting practices, customs and traditions to 170 kms circles around select “Métis communities”. If we are successful in our ‘test case’, Ted Morton’s arbitrary circles would disappear.

As well, a key part of our research and legal argument in the ‘test case’ will be that Métis are interconnected throughout northern, central and southern Alberta and that Métis have historically and continue to harvest throughout Alberta, as a part of our way of life. Therefore, a win in the ‘test case’ will be a win for all Alberta Métis. This approach is similar to what other Métis governments have done in pursuing their test cases. For example, the Métis Nation of Ontario took the Powley case out of Sault Ste, Marie as a test case, the Manitoba Métis Federation took the Goodon case out of southwestern Manitoba for all Manitoba Métis, etc.

As more information on our ‘test case’ becomes available, I will continue to provide MNA citizens with updates. As well, a more detailed update will be provided to Métis citizens at the MNA Annual General Assembly in August.

Finally, please remember to review the MNA Harvesting Policy before you go out harvesting, and, if you are charged, please ensure you forward all information to the MNA Head Office to the attention of Robert Lee, so we can ensure we are aware of all existing charges and ensure your charges are consolidated with the other cases in Edmonton.

Métis Nation of Alberta
Audrey Poitras

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Alberta-MNA Framework Agreement Ratified and Métis Consultation Policy to be Developed


Edmonton, AB (May 16, 2008) – On Monday May 12, the MNA Provincial Council met in Edmonton. It was the first formal meeting of the Provincial Council since the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench upheld the MNA Judiciary Council’s suspension of Region One Vice-President, Rick Boucher. All 13 MNA Provincial Council members were in attendance.

At the meeting, the Provincial Council dealt with many pressing issues of priority to Métis citizens and the Métis Nation as a whole, including the ratification of the seven year Alberta-MNA Framework Agreement and its subsidiary funding and linedepartment sub-agreements.

“I am pleased that we were able to move forward together in order to begin dealing with issues that really matter to Métis children, families and communities in Alberta. By ratifying our new Alberta-MNA Framework Agreement, we can now ensure that all MNA offices are able to receive their annual funding in a timely manner this year. As well, we can now resume our important work with the Alberta Government on priority issues like housing, economic development, child and family services and education,” said MNA President Audrey

Poitras.Poitras added, “I am also pleased that the Provincial Council unanimously agreed to move forward on developing a Métis Consultation Policy in order to ensure the Crown begins to fulfill its duty to consult and accommodate Métis rights, interests and way of life in the province. Similar to how we consulted our people on developing our Métis Harvesting Policy, we will hopefully soon be able to undertake province-wide consultations on the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate and develop a Métis Consultation Policy.

”The next Provincial Council meeting is scheduled for June 9, 2008.For additional information contact:

Marilyn Underschultz
Ph: (780) 455-2200

Self Government is an interesting concept and it does need a close examination

A few examples of self governance – or peoples interpretation of that – has been in the media over the past week.

The Senate of Canada is reviewing a Bill in the Upper House called Bill S234. Senator Gill presented the Bill and Senator Watt seconded it. It is an act that will establish an assembly of the aboriginal peoples of Canada. http://www.parl.gc.ca/LEGISINFO/index.asp?Language=E&Session=15&query=5432&List=toc The bill is at the second reading level and is a Senate Public Bill. Obviously, if you take the time to read the bill – it is some peoples interpretation of self government. It will encompass a body that will consist of all Aboriginal people and will have the ability to work with government. As a third order of government – some might say.

Now we could look at setting up a sign that says – MMF Inc. is your Local Métis government. That is what Mr. Chartrand is putting forward as an ideology of self government – if you are an incorporated entity – you just put a sign up in the community that declares you are part of the governance of the community. http://derrylsanderson.blogspot.com/2008/05/anonymous-has-left-new-comment-on-your.html We are being advised that this costs the better part of a half a million dollars. Imagine what some of those Local Métis communities might be able to do with that much money.

Now for some this could be even humorous –Maybe Wal Mart could put up a sign in your community that says “Our Local Walmart Government Welcomes You!” They at least are a great deal closer to controlling the local governance of the communities where they operate then the MMF is.

We need our symposium on true Métis Nationalism more then we think – our future is going to depend on better ideas then either of these.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sharing a Story - A Young Metis Man

I hope sharing this story - will help create awareness and encouragement for young Metis people in the homeland. It is through courage that this young man shares his story to help others - much like others he encountered have helped him.

We would like to gratefully acknowledge the article is courtesy of Bloodlines Magazine, Red Road HIV/AIDS Network HIV AIDS Network.

A New Lease on Life

It was shocking, at 18, to learn that I had a terminal health condition. Learning that I’d contracted the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), that leads to AIDS, was the hardest thing in my gay youth. Now, 18 years later, how I see this health condition has changed considerably.

I’d heard about AIDS but had thought it was a regional disease in Africa. Nothing like this could ever happen to me because I was young and lived in a developed country. I thought wrong.

It started with my annual health visit on December 18, 1989, at a local clinic in Calgary. My doctor, who is kind and well-spoken, asked me if I would like to be tested for any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). He explained the pros and cons of being tested and pointed out that I was at high risk of getting blood-borne illnesses because of my age and sexual orientation. I consented to the tests.

This was close to Christmas and I decided to spend the holidays with my adopted family in Winnipeg. When I got back to Calgary, an urgent message on my answering machine said to contact my doctor’s office immediately. The receptionist told me that I had an appointment the next day with a community health organization. Making my way to that appointment I began to feel uneasy. The elevator seemed to take forever. I started to sweat and breathe shallowly.

A receptionist welcomed me and asked me to take a seat in the waiting area. The walls were littered with health information on HIV and AIDS. That few minutes that I sat in the reception area seemed an eternity.

Eventually I met Michael; the health officer of what I finally figured out was an AIDS Service Organization (ASO). He invited me into his office and offered me a seat. After a few pleasantries and a few procedural matters, he told me that I had tested positive for HIV.

My world collapsed. My chest felt heavy and the room began to spin. I got up, kicked the garbage can and rushed out of Michael’s office. I ran down the stairs, got into my car and said to myself “whoever gave me this sickness, I forgive you”. I don’t know why I said that, but I believe that it was my saving grace and prayer.

My first phone call was to my adopted parents. My mother answered the phone and when I disclosed, she called me a liar and hung up. She never spoke to me again. My next call was to my roommate Brett. He rushed home from work to meet me. I explained my new health status and asked him not to share it with anyone. He agreed. Because of my experience with my adopted mother, it was a few years before I told anyone else.

I spent those first years feeling numb and socially isolated. I know now that I was reacting to the stigma around AIDS. My panic about having HIV led me down a road of self-destruction and hatred towards everyone, including myself. I used drugs and alcohol to numb the pain and anxiety.

After a few months of not dealing with the issue I moved to Montreal, where no-one knew me. I changed my name and tried to become someone else. That lasted for a few months and then I was back into drinking and using drugs. By divine intervention I was introduced to Jane, a social worker with AIDS Community Care-Montreal (ACCM), who has a heart of gold. After my first visit with her we decided together that I would make an appointment with an HIV specialist to start working on my immediate needs, which included adequate living space and better nutrition.

Eventually, after we’d established some mutual trust, Jane suggested that I volunteer for ACCM. After mulling over the idea for a couple of weeks I decided that helping out was better than sitting at home staring at the bare walls in my apartment.

My first task was to be part of the Black and Blue Festival, an annual AIDS fundraiser at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium hosted by the Bad Boy Club Montréal. This event brings together DJs of all music genres from around the globe and fifty thousand people who come to hear them. Shortly after the event, Jane told me that the FARAH Foundation, an HIV/AIDS agency dedicated to educating the general public about infectious diseases, was looking for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) to put faces to stories of the deplorable health conditions experienced by PHAs. Did I want to share my story? I decided I did.

I made my speaking debut at McGill University on March 31, 1993 with 120 soon-to-be medical doctors. Trembling, I took the stage, introduced myself as a PHA, gave an overview of what had happened to me, and sobbed uncontrollably. After answering a few questions I encouraged them to learn more about the condition and to act with compassion when dealing with PHAs. I got a standing ovation and much encouragement to keep sharing my story. Since then I have done more than 200 speaking engagements and workshops in schools and organizations across Canada. It gave me the acceptance I needed to jump start my life. I made a solemn oath to myself that I would speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and educate youth about safe sex practices and the ramifications of drug and alcohol abuse.

I now understand that I went through what’s called the five stages of grieving; denial (This is not happening to me!); anger (Why is this happening to me?); bargaining (I promise I will be a better person if…); depression (I do not care anymore); and finally acceptance (I am ready for whatever comes).

Learning how to live with this disease was not easy, but I persevered and it’s paid off. Not only did I learn to conquer my fears of living with this disease and to live again and, I learned the value of life. Recently I found my birth parents, who accept me unequivocally for who I am. Today, I am a confident, ambitious adult. I work full time, attend Athabasca University and continue to share my story my personal and professional lives. It’s wonderful to finally feel again and it’s wonderful to be part of global community that’s full of promise.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Now for Some of the People Interested in Being the Leader of the Metis Nation of British Columbia


Introducing Earl Belcourt

There are a number of reasons why I will be running for President of the Métis Nation BC. None more important then balancing the scales of fairness to our inherent right of self government.

Through self governing initiatives our people will one day take control of our destiny - putting to an end over a hundred years of suppression, discrimination, and control!Our Nation will put in place a future for our youth, our people, our Elders.

How do we do this? Through our collective experience and integrity as aboriginal people. Many of us have dedicated years of unwaivering and enduring service to the Métis people in British Columbia and Canada. Personally, throughout those years I have always considered myself a grassroots person with grassroots values - learning more from my mistakes than successes.

Métis communities throughout BC have made significant gains, all must be commended.

Sometimes changes facilitate progress and all Métis people benefit from progress within their communities.

The thrust of this website is to continue to gainer insight from the grassroots people and communities. This valuable information will aid in putting together an effective, realistic, and collective workable election platform - with a vision for continued success within all Métis communities.

Earl Belcourt

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Spring is in the air – maybe it means better thoughts by our leaders and the Appreciation of the Metis Community People

There are some very good things that appear to be a happening in the land of the Métis – we have some hope.

At the MNBC – there appears to be a comprehensive process of regional meetings throughout British Columbia that has Métis people input from across the province in setting the priorities and direction for the MNBC provincial board. They are up for election this coming September and the newly or re-elected council will have a mandate that has been established by the communities.

In addition, there has been an indicator that they have set meetings with Minister Strahl to move forward with the Métis agenda in B.C.

Also, there is work addressing the issues of Métis Children and Families in BC http://www.mpcbc.bc.ca/pdf/pr_news26.pdf. MNBC is hosting the Métis Children and Family Service Forum to review the current state of Métis Children and Family Development and address the existing delivery of Métis Child and Family Services in relation to the Provincial Government strategy in British Columbia. The ultimate objective is for Métis community leaders and the MNBC Board of Directors is to openly discuss the current MCFD delivery model that considers a strategy that represents Métis community needs and service delivery issues in the area of Métis children and family services.

In Alberta, we received some notes on the progress of issues that relate to the provincial board. There apparently was a provincial council meeting this past Monday and they have now approved the Framework Agreement and all the provincial and federal funding contribution agreements for this fiscal year. We were advised that they even directed the negotiations around a new relationship for Métis Health with the Métis National Council. Rick Boucher has been suspended as per the decision of the Métis Judiciary Council and the decision by Justice Binder where it clearly indicated that he has been a detriment to the Metis Nation. He may chose to appeal the decision of the Alberta Court of Queen’s bench but to date there has been no indicators of the existence or nature of any appeal.

We do not know if things are perfect yet – but what I was advised is that they are talking and dealing with the issues at their Provincial Council meeting. That was certainly more progress then the last meeting in March or the previous one in January. They will now have to work on a plan to mitigate the damages from the loss of last years core funding.

In Saskatchewan, President Doucette has been working with his provincial council to restore the confidence of the Métis people and the provincial and federal government in addressing the past few years of disarray in Saskatchewan. This week in Saskatchewan they participated in a Roundtable Conference on First Nations and Métis Consultation and Accommodation. The news release that came up from the conference is available at: http://www.nationtalk.ca/modules/news/article.php?storyid=9485. The provincial government of Saskatchewan has committed to developing the capacity to have the Métis in Saskatchewan to work on the development of the policies that will have them acknowledged in the Duty to Consult. We have also been told about the council working on the strengthening of their governance structures by engaging regional meetings to begin healing the damages of the past political turmoil.

In Ontario the newly elected Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO), yesterday unanimously endorsed delaying the Métis Nation of Ontario Annual General Assembly (MNO AGA) until the Fall of 2008. http://www.nationtalk.ca/modules/news/article.php?storyid=9518 It sounds like the new council wants to work with the community and strengthen a grassroots approach to building a stronger nation.

We look forward to the common theme that we see beginning in the homeland – where the Duty to Consult – starts with the leaders consulting with Metis communities. There is hope as long as true consultation and work towards the engagement of the community is a part of the movement of the Métis Nation moving forward.

As we work toward the strengthening of the provincial entities – Métis Mama is still busy working on the forum for Métis Nationalism. We will soon be contacting the individuals who have requested involvement in the conference/meeting that will be hosted this summer. Stay tuned for more details.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Metis Nation of Ontario - Press Release Election Results

OTTAWA (May 13, 2008) – Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Chief Electoral Officer, Lawrence Gladue, today announced the final results for the 2008 elections of the MNO’s three province-wide governing institutions: The Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario- (PCMNO); the Métis Nation of Ontario Youth (MNOY); and, the Métis Nation of Ontario Veteran’s Council (MNOVC).

The final count of ballots for the MNO Provincial Election 2008 was held yesterday, May 12, 2008 and the following individuals won the contested positions:

MNO Executive:

Sharon McBride, Vice-Chair

Provisional Councillors of the Métis Nation of Ontario

Region 1: Theresa Stenlund
Region 7: Pauline Saulnier (incumbent)

The following candidates were acclaimed:

Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Executive

Gary Lipinski, President
France Picotte, Chair
Tim Pile, Secretary-Treasurer

Provisional Councillors of the Métis Nation of Ontario

Region 2: Cameron Burgess (incumbent)
Region 3: Marcel LaFrance
Region 4: Ann Trudel
Region 5: Maurice Sarrazin (incumbent)
Region 6: Jo-Ann Wass
Region 8: Charlie Fife
Region 9: Peter Rivers

Post-Secondary Representative,

PCMNOAnita Tucker (incumbent)

Métis Nation of Ontario (MNOY)

Joni Labbé, Region 4

Métis Nation of Ontario Veteran’s Council

Elmer Ross, Senator

The following offices are vacant (no nominations or incomplete nominations)

PCMNO Youth Representative

MNOY Regional Councillors: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9

MNOVC President, Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer, Women’s Representative, and Youth Representative.

The date and time for the election for the vacant positions will be announced following the completion of the MNO Elections.

MNO Electoral Code, Article 9.1 states:

If after the close of nominations there are offices that are vacant, the Chief Electoral Officer shall, by May 15th, announce in writing that elections to fill any such vacancies will be held at the next Annual summer assembly.

For further information:
Katelin Peltier
MNO Manager of Communications
Tel: 613-798-1488 ext. 108
Cell: 613-859-7130
E: katelinp@metisnation.orgwww.metisnation.org

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Metis Mothers


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Resonse to an Anonymous Contributor

  • An Anonymous Contributor left this comment on our site:

    Something is really wrong here. Our Federal Government representatives over in Nicuraga while at home we are having real issues with our Homeland. Losing our hunting fishing areas to development.

    As reported on the Another site Some of us don't even have HOUSING!!!!

    So what the F is our Governments doing over seas... when the work needs to be done here at home. I think BC and Alberta needs to leave the MNC and tomorrow would be too late.

As for the Housing story that you present:

We did check this APTN clip out … it was once again a further demonstration of the reason why APTN is not a reliable news source – no investigative reporting skills and even less credibility. Sean Amato who is APTN’s Alberta Correspondent would be more skilled at “Fantasia” then he is at reporting newsworthy information in an unbiased and appropriate manner. Much of the information that gets aired from Alberta is like the "Aboriginal Enquirer" and exploits individuals much like it did for the poor family that was portrayed on this news clip. There are many Aboriginal families in the north who have been negatively impacted by the industrial revolution that seems to have consumed Fort McMurray. There has been much talk about the negative impacts. The Provincial and Federal governments have hosted Task Forces and other reviews that were to address issues related to housing in these communities. The outcomes of many of these initiatives have not had many results for the people of Conklin, Trout Lake, Anzac and others.

Yet – we have had Métis Region One collecting funds through contractual agreements that would mitigate the damages to these communities. We understand from reports from the Ken Bourque and the now suspended Rick Boucher that they are receiving a million dollars a year to assist these communities from a contract with industry. Why are these dollars not being utilized to assist the Métis community who has been devastated by the industrial explosion in their back yard?

The Métis Locals in the north have been working as a collective so that industry can work with the northern communities instead of filtering money outside of their area and not have any accountability back to these Metis people. Bill Loutitt, Margaret Scott, Jumbo Fraser and Ron Quintal from the "Wood Buffalo Core Metis Locals" tell a story about how Region One representatives do not deal with the issues of the north and do not consult them to assist any of the Metis families who have lost a way of life and the ability to exist in communities that have suddenly had everything exasperate in costs.

The APTN blames Audrey Poitras for someone living in poor housing in the north – the only housing program that the Métis Nation of Alberta had was lost this year when Trevor Gladue and his friends did not support the Framework Agreement. The money through Framework hired an individual, who is now laid off as a result of the “Framework Agreement”. This individual worked with the various Métis people in Alberta to try and get them access to the necessary resources through the Alberta Government to deal with poor inadequate housing. Rather then blame Audrey – maybe Trevor’s friends need to talk to the 'Dissidents' who have high jacked the Métis issues in Alberta for their own political gain.

Friday, May 9, 2008

What is new at MNC?

There is a new foundation and focus coming to the Métis National Council. Gary Lipinski is now the new President of the Métis Nation of Ontario and based on the news releases – he has hit the ground running. The Métis Nation of Ontario has worked and developed some very significant relationships with the provincial government in Ontario and appear to be strengthening their relationship with the various Métis people at the community level.

Tony has taken on some new challenges in his retirement. He has started a new organization which he is the President of. He will be working on developing opportunity for the Indigenous people of the Americas. In fact, he is working on an initiative to bring cell phones to the Indigenous people of Guatemala right now.

Clem is busy on his International interests and is trying to find support for the people in Nicaragua.

British Columbia is busy with community consultations in their various regional boundaries. They will work at letting the people determine their progression into the future, including whether they continue with the Métis National Council. Based on their communication with the Métis National Council – answers to their questions would go a long way to indicating to the Métis in BC that their participation is welcome. They are also busy strengthening their relationship federally and provincially. There has been indications that they have successfully negotiated bilateral agreements that will move the Métis Nation of BC forward regardless of what they end up doing.

Through the Manitoba Métis Federation we have heard that there have been regional meetings. Based on David’s Presidents report they are filled with Métis people in Manitoba who are singing and dancing with happiness. David is apparently meeting with the Ian Potter the Assistant Deputy Minister, FNIHB Health Canada. The Board of Governors at their meeting passed a resolution that indicated they were willing to try and negotiate a new agreement with Health Canada if the issues of the past contract breach could be resolved. That is now up in the air because the forensic audit is not complete and the Assistant Deputy Minister is rumored to be leaving his present position. The Board of Governors at their meeting clearly did not support the continuation of the existing agreement and wanted to begin working on the development of bilateral agreements with each of the Provincial organizations. This is probably really important for some of our provinces because in the past Manitoba has gotten the lion’s share of the funding that comes into MNC while often BC and Ontario received the crumbs. Government in a bilateral process would develop a funding formula that would have indicators that would determine the percentage of funding that would be equally shared amongst the provinces based on the formula much like the existing Métis Human Resource Development Agreement is negotiated.

On to Alberta – well not much needs to be said about the issues happening there – the ongoing political dog eat dog world is highlighted in many blogs and the only real dogs that have been torn apart is the Métis people in the community. As has been reported on this blog and others -Rick Boucher is suspended and the division of the political allies are shifting. There is to be a Provincial Council meeting next week to resolve issues. There will probably be a great deal of attention focused on that blogs after the meeting. In the meantime the candidates are lining up and the people who have been mortal enemies in the past are trying to convince each other they should now be allies in the future.

In Saskatchewan – we have heard that there is work being done to try and recover from what has been a long political battle in their province. They are trying to reestablish relationships and working at putting their governing structure back together. There is a split on the provincial council that they are working to overcome. If they stay focused on the issues of commonality they just may be the role model for how to overcome our differences.

As Métis people in our community – we need to work on staying focused on the issues and not getting caught up in self serving political agendas. Even one of the blogs are becoming an obvious campaign head quarter for some of our more challenged. I do caution individuals on something that is being presented recently - one of these forums has become a means of trying to suck individuals into financing them. Many blogs have been around for many more years then Metis Mama and they are not seeking your money to share or give insight into the world of issues that are of concern to you. Before you buy into putting your hard earned money to forums or sites with their own political agenda - make sure that they represent an organization that reflects your priorities and that the money is not going to one or two private pockets.

Our nation needs to focus on the things that are paramount to our future – like engaging our youth so that they are not completely alienated from their culture. We pray that some of our young people who have sought a future of understanding our contemporary communities but remembering their past will step up and begin to get involved so that the future of the Métis Nation is not lost in the future generations.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

An Interesting Article in the Toronto Sun about our Aboriginal Veterans

An article that makes you wonder... Just for info to add to the article. If you want to follow the story of the Juno Beach, Vimy Ridge, Menin Gate Veterans ceremonies go to the fall of 2005 and early 2006 archives of Trevor Gladue's Metis Matters Newspaper. Trevor and his wife were - Ed Borchert's helpers on this tour - not that they were veterans, youth or bureaucrats .... must have been a hanger on.

David is with the Duck Bay Dancers at the Vimy Ridge vacation. This event not unlike the others had far more Metis Politicians and others....

You will see Felice Gladue standing in the back row and husband Trevor is in the front row of this picture which can be found at: http://www.metisnation.ca/press/photo.html

Why should bureaucrats, officials and other hangers-on outnumber veterans 2 to 1 on pilgrimages to battlefields?



Periodically, Veterans Affair Canada (VAC), conducts pilgrimages to various wartime battlefields and cemeteries where Canadians made a name for themselves.

Often, veterans who are the centrepiece of these expeditions, seem secondary to bureaucrats and officials who accompany and outnumber them, sometimes two to one.

I was invited to mark the 50th anniversary of the Korean war, and at the time it struck me as a bit odd that senior bureaucrats flew business class, while the outnumbered vets (some of them literally on their last legs) were relegated to economy class. While some of the old soldiers grumbled, most felt this was just the way things are; nothing much had changed since wartime days when they roughed it.

This July, VAC is conducting what may be the last pilgrimage by veterans to the 55th anniversary of the ending of the Korean War -- a war that ended in stalemate but which was a triumph for South Korea in peace.


In past "pilgrimages," regiments that fought in Korea contributed three veterans each. This year they've been allocated one veteran each, which seems unnecessarily chintzy, especially when this may be the last chance for many to take part.

Complicating the arrangements is that four veterans from each of three Aboriginal and Metis organizations are attending (12 in all) -- some of whom never served in Korea. This seems disproportional, especially when 40 or so vets will be herded by close to 100 staff from VAC, including an honour guard, students and various others who'll get a free trip.

Apparently what is planned is a four-day "Calling Home Ceremony" for the souls or spirits of Aboriginals who were killed. It will be similar to ceremonies at a 2005 pilgrimage to Vimy Ridge where retired Princess Pats Maj. Ed Borchert (who once ran the gift shop at the regimental museum in Calgary and claims to be a Metis) conducted ceremonies.

At Vimy, Borchert said it was very emotional: "We felt loss, grief, elation, tears, anger, laughter and joy. The spirits came to us and cried to go home."

(The cycle of calling home the spirits of dead warriors apparently takes four years of feasts, songs and dances.)

Borchert, who retired in 1995 after 30 years service, defines the Calling Home Ceremony as a "vision of warriors brought to veterans on the wings of a Great Eagle from the Creator ... a cry from our ancestors for the spirits of our fallen warriors to be returned to their ancestral homelands."

Claude Petit, president of the National Aboriginal Veterans Association (NAVA) -- the umbrella group representing all Aboriginal and Metis vets -- isn't impressed. He even questions whether Borchert is Metis, and says in the past he has been depicted as Ukrainian and even Spanish.
"Pipe ceremonies and such are not a Metis thing," says Petit, who is Metis himself, was wounded in Korea and holds the Order of Canada for work in Saskatchewan among native and Metis people.

"Fine if First Nation vets want to do these ceremonies," says Petit. "But Maj. Borchert isn't a veteran of Korea, even though he likes to wear a buckskin jacket and the U.S. Presidential Unit Citation awarded to 2 Battalion PPCLI. I've told him this. I call him Grey Owl II, and have complained to Veterans Affairs."

Petit says most Metis are Catholics and don't intrude on First Nation ceremonies. NAVA is sending four Korean vets on the Pilgrimage, as is a Metis organization and a First Nation group. Not all are Korean vets.


Along with his brother, Petit joined the Princess Pats under age and stayed in the army after the Korean war. Claude was heavyweight boxing champ of the Canadian army and is an outspoken advocate for Aboriginal causes -- rarely reluctant to say what he thinks.

His reference to Borchert as "Grey Owl II" brings to mind the original Grey Owl, who was born Archie Belaney in Hasting, England, but joined the Montreal Black Watch in World War I pretending to be an Ojibwa Indian. He was a sniper, was wounded, and on discharge became a trapper in Temagame, Ont. A naturalist, he wrote critically acclaimed books and toured Britain and America as an Indian. He died in 1938 at age 50. The North Bay Nugget exposed him as a non-aboriginal. His life was later made into a movie, staring Pierce Brosnan.

Vince Courtenay, a Korean vet and publisher of Koreavet news.com, also questions a Metis staging pipe ceremonies and urges VAC to reconsider and send three vets from each of the regiments that fought in Korea.

On behalf of the VanDoos and RCR, Regimental Maj. E.A. Liebert of the PPCLI has requested VAC to "review plans and try to maximize participation of Korean veterans in Armistice ceremonies." He notes these three regiments supplied almost half the 26,000 Canadian soldiers who served in Korea, and sustained 75% of the casualties.

Petit was involved in getting NAVA vets to the Vimy Ridge pilgrimage where Borchert conducted the "Calling Home Ceremony."

Petit says: "My grandfather is buried at Vimy Ridge and I want his spirit to stay where it is, among those who died there."

Many veterans of aboriginal blood who served in World War I, World War II and Korea feel that in the army they were treated fairly as equals for the first time in their lives. After these wars, for many, it was a return to the reserve and the prejudices of the times.

Today, efforts are made to encourage aboriginal recruitment, as they make excellent soldiers.

"Candy" being handed out in school yards may be dangerous drug

The following was an article that was in the Grassroots News. It is important to protect our children in a an ever changing world of challenges.

Tzena Asham at the Manitoba Metis Federation wants readers, particularly parents, to be aware of a new drug which some very unsavory people are trying to get our youth and children hooked on.

This new drug is called "strawberry quick". It is a type of crystal methamphetatime (or "crystal meth") that looks like strawberry pop rocks (the candy that "pops" and sizzles in your mouth). It also smells like strawberry and it is being handed out to children in Winnipeg school yards.

There have been reports of kids ingesting this substance thinking it is candy and being rushed to hospital sick. The substance is also reported to come in chocolate, peanut butter, cola, cherry, grape and orange flavours.

Parents are strongly urged to tell your children not to accept candy from strangers, also not to accept "candy" that looks like this from a friend (who may have been given this substance and wrongly believes that it is safe candy). Children should also report any information or offers they receive about this substance to a teacher, principal, parent or police immediately.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Métis Nation of Ontario President Lipinski sets the direction for the next four years


Tuesday, May 6, 2008 -- MNO Press Release

Moving Forward --- Together

Ottawa (May 6th, 2008) --- Today the newly acclaimed Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Gary Lipinski officially assumes his role following his election to Office of the President April 22nd, 2008. As a first order of business President Lipinski provided MNO Elected Officials and Staff with the ambitious agenda for the next four years.

“The MNO has, over the years, put into place a democratic and strong governance structure in order to implement Métis self-government, and the momentum needs to continue. Empowerment, communications and sustainable capacity are a few of the areas that the MNO will focus on strengthening, specifically for the MNO’s Chartered Community Councils which operate solely on a volunteer capacity.” Lipinski stated.

President Lipinski identified the need for the development of an overall, long range strategic plan for the MNO which would result in the engagement of all Métis citizens, Community Councils, the Provisional Council of the MNO (PCMNO), and the MNO Annual Assembly.

“From these discussions, we can develop a blueprint that will not only guide us, but will also grow and evolve as we do. It will also allow us to set targets and goals, to evaluate our progress and refine our plans as we go. I look forward to engaging in this process over the next 6 to 8 months with Métis citizens and fellow Métis leaders.” added Lipinski.

Another area identified was the enhancement of the ability to further assist Métis people in areas of mental health, justice, education, child and family services, housing, culture and heritage, as well as economic development.

“To better support Métis children, families and communities, the MNO must be able to offer a holistic approach to addressing Métis needs. Currently, the MNO does not have all of the tools and supports our citizens need from their government. I am committed to expanding discussions with the provincial and federal governments to assume Métis jurisdiction in areas which are essential to improving the quality of life of Métis people in the province.” said Lipinski.

“A strong team has been elected and brings an exciting mix of experience, energy, talent and ideas. With France Picotte as Chair of the Provisional Council, Tim Pile as Secretary/Treasurer, a new Co-chair, and, an enthusiastic blend of returning and first term Councillors, I look forward to capitalizing on our strengths, while immediately addressing those areas where we must be stronger.” Lipinski stated.

The MNO held Ballot-box elections yesterday, May 5th, 2008, for the contested positions of the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO Vice-Chair, Region 1 & 7 Councillors) and the Chief Electoral Officer will announce the results on May 12, 2008. For more information on the elections please visit www.metisnation.org.

President Lipinski started his political career as a councillor on the Sunset Country Métis Council Gary expressed his vision for Métis people within Ontario and gradually progressed through the political structure becoming Region 1 Councillor and in 1999 was elected as Chair of the Métis Nation of Ontario of which he held until this current election. In addition to the elected positions that Lipinski held, he also sits on various Provincial and National Committees representing the Métis People of Ontario and was an integral part of the battle for Métis Rights including the landmark Powley case concerning the right to hunt.

The Métis are a distinct Aboriginal people with a unique culture, language and heritage, and with an ancestral Homeland that centres around Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, parts of the Northwest Territories, as well as the northwestern United States. The Métis played an instrumental role in the shaping of Canada, and work tirelessly to share their culture, music, traditions and knowledge of the environment with their fellow Canadians. Today, the Métis live, work, raise their families and pay taxes in communities all across Canada.

For further information:
Katelin Peltier
MNO Manager of Communications
Tel: 613-798-1488 ext. 108
Cell: 613-859-7130

Monday, May 5, 2008

New Metis Blog Site has started - Check It Out

Metis News


We will post a link on the sidebar.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Treacherous Trevor the man who commits a sham and deception upon the Métis community and is a complete imposter.

Treacherous Trevor – sits and portrays himself as a leader but then when it is time to be accountable for the decisions he makes or the things he led he says – it wasn’t me – I didn’t have anything to do with it because it was all Rick and Ken.

I received a report that a meeting took place in Edmonton last week for the Métis people who live in the region. Trevor reported to a room full of Métis people that he did not take part in writing letters to government to stop funding or to the bank to try and stop the ability of the organization to move forward. Did he forget that he copied the Provincial Council on these documents? Did he forget he was recorded on APTN requesting that funding be halted? He indicated that all of this had nothing to do with him. We will post some of those documents – where people can see for themselves the damage he has perpetrated.

He advised everyone at the meeting that he has no pay cheque and he depends on poor Métis people to give him gas so he can carry on. Then we find out this week that he had his pay reinstated and he had even received retroactive pay prior to the weekend meeting. Maybe he did not want to let the staff that had been laid off know that so he had to pretend like he was a part of the unemployed rather then a man earning over $70 thousand a year in salary and benefits. How do you face the collateral victims of ugly politics? Treacherous Trevor does it by telling untruths and filling the community with deceitful words!

Even his own supporters did not believe what they were hearing him say. The Provincial
Council meeting that he did not participate in – he advised the crowd that he did not know how to access the call. One of his friends said that wasn’t true and confronted him at the meeting. They told the people about a conference call that Trevor hosted before the Provincial Council call and advised his six friends to boycott the Provincial Council meeting so that the MNA could not get the Alberta Government agreement. His friend told him he had a legal obligation to participate in the matters and responsibilities of the Provincial Council and that they should take the call. Obviously – the ugly politics is a better alternative. Treacherous Trevor’s only response to his friend was – I could say lots about the personal conversations we had.

Another person at the meeting asked him about the Métis Health Agreement. They asked him why he believes that Audrey needs a Provincial Council resolution to sign deals but why did he feel that Rick, Ken and himself didn’t need one. He reported that he tried to get one but the meeting he tried to pass it - lost quorum. He was then asked how that is different then the rules he was asking the other Provincial Council members to live with. The Provincial Council passed a resolution to try and access their own agreement with Health Canada – not a resolution for Rick and Trevor to get a side agreement. His only response was he wasn’t there when Rick and Ken signed the agreement and he did not have anything to do with it. There were reports at the Métis Judiciary Council Hearing that Trevor and Rick were in Winnipeg and they flew Ken Bourque in for the signing of the agreement on March 28, 2007. http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/March2007/28/c7809.html

We have made a request for the minutes of last weeks meeting in relation to Trevor so we can share them. When we get them – we will post them. We are also going to post the letters and Press Releases where Trevor is indicating his involvement in spite of his complete denial and not taking any responsibility for what has gone on.

Treacherous Trevor is not a leader – Rick Boucher is taking the fall for everything while Trevor claims he had nothing to do with it.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Alberta Court Upholds MNA Judiciary Council’s Decision


Edmonton, AB (May 2, 2008) – Yesterday, the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta upheld the decision of the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) Judiciary Council to reprimand and suspend Rick Boucher, MNA Region 1 Vice President.

Justice M.A. Binder, of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench concluded that the MNA Judiciary Council was within its “jurisdiction” in issuing its December 18, 2007, written decision that Mr. Boucher’s actions were “gravely detrimental” to the Métis Nation and suspending him until 2010.

“The Alberta Court validated what our own Métis self-government institution, the MNA Judiciary Council, correctly confirmed back in December 2007. Namely, Métis leaders are elected to serve the interests of the Métis people, not their own self interest,” said President Poitras.

The initial complaint against Mr. Boucher, to the MNA Judiciary Council, was filed in May 2007. It was grounded on MNA Provincial Council’s unanimous motion (seconded by Boucher) to pursue a direct, bilateral agreement with Health Canada for the delivery of the Aboriginal Health Human Resource Initiative (AHHRI), as opposed to entering an unmanageable, unrealistic sub-agreement with the Métis National Council (MNC) for the delivery of this federal program.

In March 2007, unbeknownst to the MNA President, and the majority of Provincial Council, and MNA Region One Regional Council, Mr. Boucher negotiated and entered into an agreement with the MNC for the delivery of the same AHHRI funding through Metco Ventures Inc., a company privately owned by Boucher, as 100 per cent shareholder, at the signing of the agreement. The agreement provided for Metco Ventures Inc. to deliver Métis health programs in Alberta, rather than the MNA.

The MNA Judiciary Council found that Mr. Boucher “made a decision to use a company he controlled to take an agreement away from the MNA”, that Mr. Boucher “owed a duty to the MNA” and that “he had no right to act on his own contrary to the motion” passed by the MNA Provincial Council in February 2007.

The MNA Judiciary Council also concluded that:

  • The MNA could not operate if every Councillor felt entitled to take information obtained through the MNA and then act on their own through companies preventing the MNA from proceeding with negotiating agreements when the Provincial Council had authorized the negotiation of such agreements. …
  • Provincial Council members do not have the right to act on their own because they disagree with the MNA Executives or the MNA Provincial Council. …
  • People in the position of Mr. Boucher as a member of the Provincial Council harm the integrity and credibility of the entire Métis Nation of Alberta by ignoring the process for governing affairs of the Provincial Council.

Based on these findings, the MNA Judiciary Council reprimanded and immediately suspended Mr. Boucher from the MNA Provincial Council and from holding specific positions in the MNA until December 18, 2010. Mr. Boucher rejected the jurisdiction and questioned the integrity of the Métis Nation to govern its own affairs by attempting to have the MNA Judiciary Council decision overturned by a non-Métis court. Yesterday, Mr. Boucher’s attempts were completely rejected by that non-Métis court.

“It is now time that all members of the MNA Provincial Council focus their attention on doing what we were elected to do,” President Poitras added. “We must now come together to push forward on our Métis rights agenda and to help Métis children, families and communities.”

Marlene Lanz, MNA Region 3 President and Minister for Family and Wellness said, “I also hope the Métis National Council’s President, Clem Chartier, and the former MNC Minister for Health, David Chartrand, understand what this judgment means. They should not have used the MNC and Métis health dollars as a way to interfere in politics in Alberta. They should have respected the MNA President and the MNA Provincial Council, rather than trying to pretend they know best for Alberta Métis.”

Sylvia Johnson, MNA Region 6 President, added, “I am very pleased that we can finally put some closure on this issue. Now we need to get moving on the very necessary work that needs to be done for our Métis people to continue moving the Métis Nation forward. In my view, this was a triumph and a huge step towards Métis self-government when the Court of Queens Bench in the Province of Alberta recognized and upheld the decision of our Métis Judiciary Council.”

“It has been truly sad that some elected Métis leaders have allowed the Alberta Government to use our internal conflicts as an excuse to ignore Métis priorities that our nation is facing. Métis harvesting rights, the Crown’s duty to consult our communities, the housing needs of Métis families, the health and safety of our children and Elders. These need to be the priorities of all members of the MNA Provincial Council. Not just positioning for an election in the fall,” said Cecil Bellrose, MNA Region 4 President. “I would like to congratulate President Poitras and the Judiciary Council for remaining steady throughout this process.”

Karen Collins, MNA Region 2 President added, “While it is unfortunate that so much time and energy has been dedicated to deal with Mr. Boucher’s actions: the principle that elected Métis leadership must be accountable and act honourably on behalf of the Métis people was something worth fighting for. Métis citizens should expect nothing less than what other Canadians expect of their elected leadership.”

For additional information contact:
Marilyn Underschultz
MNA Communications
Ph: (780) 455-2200