EDMONTON – The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) is taking a further step towards the formation of self-government recognized by the federal government by entering a phase of province-wide consultations for its new constitution.
After signing the Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement with the federal government in June 2019, the MNA began the process of creating formal self-government recognized by the federal government.
The member is currently consulting Métis citizens on a draft constitution that they believe will modernize their approach to self-government.
“Even though we have been recognized under this accord as a Métis government in Alberta, we know there are things we need to do to achieve greater federal recognition,” said Audrey Poitras, Chair of the MNA, at CTV News Edmonton.
One of those things, Poitras says, is to write a constitution.
“This is something our citizens have been asking for for many, many years.”
Prior to the MGRSA, the MNA created a Constitutional Commission in 2018.
Poitras says the desire for self-determination among the Métis has been around for a long time.
“I can go back, for me, from 30 to 35 years old when I attended annual meetings,” she said. “This has always been the direction given to our leaders… was to do something to get us out of the Societies Act and to develop this constitution so that we can be recognized as the Métis government that we really are. ”
The Commission organized a series of roundtables with members of the MNA Provincial Council, elders, knowledge keepers and community members from each of the six MNA regions.
According to the MNA, self-determination is necessary to ensure that the educational outcomes, employment prospects and personal health of Métis are not inferior to non-Indigenous Canadians.
Once the consultations are complete, the Constitutional Commission will hold a meeting for Métis citizens to consider the final version of the Constitution. If approved, the next step will be a province-wide ratification process.
“We’re at a point where finally we now have recognition,” Poitras said. “We can really now really move forward to talk about achieving this goal.”
The Commission hopes to publish the second draft of its Constitution by early April.