The Wood Buffalo Métis, representing the Métis communities of Conklin, Fort Chipewyan, Fort McKay, and Fort McMurray, welcome the Alberta Premier’s mandate letter to Cabinet Ministers outlining her expectations for a renewed and improved relationship with indigenous peoples.
“The Alberta Premier’s statements during the election, through the Speech from the Throne, and in a mandate letter to her Cabinet colleagues are a sign of a positive approach and we’re certainly ready to engage in a respectful and productive dialogue to bring about action on these commitments,” stated Conklin Métis President Shirley Tremblay.
McMurray Métis President Gail Gallupe added, “we wish to work with Alberta to build more prosperous, self-reliant, and culturally strong Métis communities in Wood Buffalo. And while there are Métis settlements and lands in the south there has never been a settlement with Métis in northeastern Alberta and we welcome any progress towards that end.”
In correspondence between Wood Buffalo Métis leaders and the Premier of Alberta, the Minister of Aboriginal Relations, and other Ministers in the Alberta cabinet, the following priorities have been outlined by the Wood Buffalo Métis:
The development and implementation of an Alberta Métis Consultation Policy;
a review and overhaul of Alberta’s Métis Harvesting Policy;
a directive to Alberta’s Aboriginal Consultation Office mandating consultation with affected Métis communities prior to regulatory approvals;
adequate funding for regional multi-stakeholder organizations including the Cumulative Environmental Management Association;
a renewed focus on affordable housing;
adequate funding for health care, education, and front line police services in rural communities;
infrastructure investment, including an all season road to northwestern Saskatchewan along the route of the current ice road.
the inclusion of Métis culture and history into Alberta’s education curriculum;
support for a national inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women; and
the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People into law.
Fort Chipewyan Métis President Jumbo Fraser stated, “For far too long Métis people have been left out of decisions affecting them, particularly as it relates to industrial development. Alberta’s policy of determining whether to consult Métis on a case by case basis has long meant that in almost every case there was no consultation.”
Added McKay Métis President Ron Quintal, “The injustice of Alberta’s approach to Métis consultation is not only contrary to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People it is contrary to Section 35 of Canada’s Constitution Act, 1982. The failure to address constitutional obligations has led to a confrontational and litigious approach that is not in the interests of anybody. We look forward to working with Alberta’s new Government to address this, and other longstanding issues, and we’re pleased with the early signs of progress being made by Alberta’s new Premier.”
April 30th, 2014: Wood Buffalo Métis Letter to the Editor, “Questions for party leaders from Metis leaders” – http://www.fortmcmurraytoday.com/2015/04/30/letter-questions-for-party-leaders-from-metis-leaders
May 1st, 2015: Alberta NDP response to Wood Buffalo Métis letter to the editor: https://www.facebook.com/McMurrayMetis/posts/672558832848749
July 7th, 2015 : Alberta Premier’s Mandate Letter to Cabinet Ministers: http://aboriginal.alberta.ca/documents/Premier-Notley-Letter-Cabinet-Ministers.pdf
July 9th, 2015: Alberta Government Media Release: http://alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=3829383ECC178-FCCA-F36A-8D2EC714192D76A2