April 19, 2021, Ottawa, ON – Métis National Council Vice-President and National Spokesperson David Chartrand congratulated Deputy Prime Minister Freeland on her inaugural budget today.
“The budget clearly addresses many of the pressing issues facing the Métis Nation and does so again in a distinct Métis Nation Priorities section,” said Chartrand.
In “Supporting Métis Nation Priorities”, the budget sets out distinctions-based funding to help see Métis communities, businesses and students through the pandemic with critical financial support.
It builds on earlier federal support for Métis Nation early learning and child care with additional funding for Métis Nation programming and capacity-building in this area.
The budget also builds on earlier support for the Métis Nation capital corporations with additional capital for Métis entrepreneurs including Métis women and for additional pandemic emergency loans for Métis businesses. It provides funding for the federal government’s Indigenous procurement modernization that will move it closer to Canada’s target of 5 per cent of federal contracts being awarded to Indigenous businesses.
The Liberal Party committed to reduce the infrastructure gap in Métis communities and the budget contains important measures to do so. This includes providing Métis Nation access to the $4.3 billion distinctions-based Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund to support shovelready projects in Indigenous communities, and for funding to participate in green infrastructure projects including clean energy as well as disaster mitigation and adaptation to help Métis communities adapt to climate change. It also makes an important investment in Métis Nation social infrastructure with a distinctions-based mental wellness strategy and community safety services.
“I was heartened by a series of discussions I had with the Deputy Prime Minister since she assumed the Finance Minister’s job”, said Chartrand. “She really took the time to learn about our issues and asked me some very practical and focused questions on how we could move forward most productively. This budget is proof positive of her interest in our people.”
The budget provides funding for a range of measures to end the national tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. “ I strongly support the government’s action on this most pressing issue”, said MNC Minister of Families Clara Morin Dal Col. “The budget also provides child care support for Métis women, access to capital for their businesses and sports programming for our women and girls which are all appreciated.”
The MNC is engaging with federal ministers on the Métis Nation allocations.
“Of course, we still have some discussions ahead of us on this and the Governing Members will have to present their case for the funding. We will work with all the Métis Nation institutions that seek access to the funding,” said Chartrand. “At the same time, I am confident that building on the solid relationship we have with the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Freeland and their commitment to distinctions-based funding for our people, that the citizens of the Métis Nation will benefit from this budget.”
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Métis National Council
The MNC represents the Métis Nation in Canada at the national and international levels. The Métis Nation’s homeland includes the 3 Prairie Provinces and extends into the contiguous parts of British Columbia, Ontario, the Northwest Territories and the United States. There are approximately 400,000 Métis Nation citizens in Canada, roughly a quarter of all Aboriginal peoples in the country.