(Ottawa, ON) The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) affirms its support for First Nations in Ontario calling for the Government of Canada to delay implementation of the Métis Self-Government Recognition and Implementation Legislation between the Métis Nation of Ontario and Canada to allow for meaningful consultations and accommodations with First Nations.
On February 24, 2023, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) and the Ministry of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) announced that the parties had signed the Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Implementation Agreement (Agreement). This Agreement builds on the Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement previously signed in 2019. If implemented, the Métis Self-Government Recognition and Implementation Legislation will enshrine the MNO’s claimed section 35 rights under the Constitution Act, 1982, to self-government; this legislation will have significant impacts on First Nations constitutionally protected rights in Ontario.
“Canada has a fiduciary responsibility to consult with First Nations on legislation that may impact or encroach on First Nations Treaty rights,” said AFN Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare. “Canada has failed to consult First Nations in the development of the Métis Self-Government Recognition and Implementation Legislation. First Nations in Ontario reject the Métis Self-Government Recognition and Implementation Legislation in its current form due to significant concerns with the legitimacy, membership, and jurisdiction of the MNO and how the proposed legislation may impact our inherent and Treaty rights.”
On June 21, 2023, the Government of Canada is expected to table the Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Legislation, meant to recognize the MNOs over citizenship, elections, and governance administration.
“Canada must uphold its duty to First Nations and cease the unilateral decision-making approach without the full consultation and accommodation of First Nations. I call on the Government of Canada to immediately delay implementation of the legislation until First Nations are consulted and their concerns are addressed.”
The AFN recognizes and affirms support for the Indigenous rights of legitimate Métis in Canada and supports the advancement of their rights within their historic territories. Canada’s decision to expedite legislation granting MNO self-government rights without proper consultation will undermine the rights of First Nations across Canada and will harm the advancement of legitimate Métis rights holders. The tabling of this legislation, expected to occur on June 21, 2023, which coincides with Indigenous People’s Day and the tabling of Canada’s Action Plan to implement the UN Declaration is troubling. Canada has been performative far too often while ignoring its legal duty to consult with First Nations and its legal duty under the UN Declaration implementation legislation to ensure all of its laws and policies are aligned with the UN Declaration.
In September 2022, First Nations Leadership in Ontario passed a resolution demanding the Government of Canada refrain from any actions which unlawfully recognize the MNO as jurisdictional, inherent, and section 35 rights holders, including the introduction of any legislation to implement the Self-Government Agreement, or otherwise recognize the MNO as having section 35 rights. Similar assertions on First Nations lands are being made in other provinces and territories, including the BC First Nations Leadership Council, led by Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBICI), where a resolution was unanimously passed rejecting Métis assertions in British Columbia (B.C.) in June 2023.
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
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Director of Communications
Assembly of First Nations
Assembly of First Nations