Tuesday, June 16, 2009

MNC and Presentation to the Senate

Metis National Council


June 11, 2009

Action needed for Métis Residential School Survivors

One year after apology, vast majority of Métis Survivors still without compensation

Ottawa, ON -- Métis National Council (MNC) President Clément Chartier is calling for government action in compensating Métis residential school survivors excluded from the Indian Residential School Settlements Agreement.

While addressing a special sitting of the Senate marking the first anniversary of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apology for Canada’s past assimilation policies and the Indian Residential School system, President Chartier said little progress has been made in addressing the concerns of Métis survivors who’ve been denied compensation.

“When I participated in that apology ceremony, I pledged the Métis Nation was prepared and willing to do our part in Canada’s collective journey towards healing and reconciliation,” said Chartier during his address to the Senate. “I wish I could report a strong beginning to that journey during the past year, but for most Métis survivors this is simply not true.”

While a small number of Métis who attended schools recognized by the settlement agreement are eligible for compensation, the vast majority of Métis survivors attend schools not included. These schools were church-run and government-sanctioned, but for the most part were funded by Provincial governments or religious order and not part of the federally funded Indian Residential School System.

“They were run with the same assimilationist intent and methods, and today neither the federal nor provincial governments are willing to accept responsibility for what happened,” said Chartier. “This impasse over how to deal with Métis survivors personifies in real human terms the true cost of Ottawa’s persistent refusal to accept historical, constitutional and moral responsibility for dealing with the Métis as a distinct Aboriginal people and nation.”

Chartier did commend Minister Chuck Strahl, Federal Interlocutor for Métis, for signing the Métis Nation Protocol in September 2008. The Protocol commits the Federal Government and the Métis National Council to work together on a range of bilateral issues, and where appropriate it allows for multilateral discussion with provincial governments from Ontario-westward.

Chartier said Minister Strahl has demonstrated a personal commitment to move ahead with the leadership of the Métis Nation in the year following the apology, and the Métis National Council is encouraged in its work with the Minister in area of economic development.

“Promising as these initiatives may be,” said Chartier, “they do not address the long outstanding need for justice for those who those who experienced the horrors of the Métis residential school system”

President Chartier went on to ask both chambers of Parliament to call on the federal government to assert its jurisdictional responsibility for dealing with the Métis Nation, and ensure all Métis survivors get the compensation they deserve.

For more information contact Greg Taylor, MNC Communications, at (613) 296-9263 or gregt@metisnation.ca.

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