Métis Nation Ontario failing to comply with Métis National Definition

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on January 25, 2020

On January 22nd, the Métis National Council (MNC) suspended the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) after multiple warnings to cease damaging behaviour to the Métis community.

Back in November of 2018, MNO had been placed on a one-year probation for the same issue that later got them fully suspended.

MNC had severe concerns with MNO granting Métis citizenship to people living in Eastern Ontario. This is due to standards set by the MNC to judge who legitimately has Métis ancestry. Often it is regionally restricted based on no evidence that Métis communities have ever existed in certain areas.

MNC Vice-President David Chartrand said in response to the MNO’s President’s claim that the actions of the MNO have been in pursuit of self-government, “They decided to create this new tri-council and try to disguise it as self-government, but it’s not self-government […] they need to justify now to all of the Metis citizens of the west, how come they’re not following the resolution as stated very clearly in the 2018 directive that the Metis National Council, which they’re a member of, they did not ensure that Ontario follow those rules.”

It seems confusing, and that is because it is. MNO President Margaret Froh and the Ontario nation, in general, had been deflecting the issue of upholding MNC standards by justifying it by saying they are practicing self-government by creating and approving their policy.

MNC put out a statement on Cision, stating clearly what the root issue is.

In one section, the statement reads:

“The actions of these Presidents are in direct conflict with the Métis National Definition that all of the MNC Governing Members agreed to in 2002 – almost twenty years ago. This National Definition was agreed to by all Citizens through their Assemblies and is now in each Governing Member’s Constitution. The National Definition was adopted to ensure the Métis Nation has objectively verifiable standards and processes to identify our Citizens. Ontario has not followed the definition as adopted by the people of the Métis Nation.” 

MNC has no problem with self-government, but they do have a problem with MNO being a member of the MNC and feeling above the rules.

Other Métis leaders have stressed the importance of standardized Métis Identification in the past, as overtime, it has become a controversial issue of who can be Métis.

Alberta Métis Settlements General Council (MSGC) President Herb Lehr, in an interview back in December with The National Telegraph, made it clear that the Metis community decides the standards of ancestry. 

Lehr said that “under the Constitution of Canada, and under United Nations Declaration, it says we’re the ones who are supposed to decide [the standards] not the federal or provincial governments.” a standard that is also tarnished when alternative Métis “self-governments” attempt to start making their own rules and enforcing their standards in different regions.

MNO had to be suspended as if any Métis community could start haphazardly declaring people legitimate Métis citizens then the identification becomes meaningless and situations arise in areas like the Maritimes were Métis self-identification has spiked despite having few Métis communities.

The MNC has not yet decided whether to and what is required to reinstate MNO, or whether they will be entirely removed from the MNC if nothing changes soon.


Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

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