Montreal – A true government-to-government relationship with the Métis will require a strong and ongoing commitment to respect them as partners in policy-making, says a new publication from the Institute for Research on Public Policy. Despite concerted efforts by the Prime Minister and federal ministers, this nascent nation-to-nation relationship has yet to take hold across policy sectors.
Author Janique Dubois (University of Ottawa) demonstrates that, historically, Canada denied the existence of Métis rights and marginalized the Métis in developing programs and policies. To rectify this, they have turned to the courts. There was a significant breakthrough in 2016, when the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that federal government has constitutional jurisdiction over the Métis. This clarified to whom the Métis should turn for policy redress and led to their being given a seat at the table with federal leaders.
According to Dubois, recent initiatives such as the 2017 Canada-Métis Nation Accord suggest the federal government is committed to deepening its relationship with the Métis. A shift is also apparent at the provincial level, where a number of governments are developing their own approaches to reconciliation.
Still, the author notes, the federal government is facing significant challenges in exercising its constitutional authority to legislate for the Métis and in co-developing policies in the areas identified in the Accord.
“Cementing a true nation-to-nation relationship will require a fundamental shift in attitude and action to develop a policy environment that respects Indigenous governments as partners in decision-making,” she concludes.
The Emerging Policy Relationship between Canada and the Métis Nation, by Janique Dubois, can be downloaded from the Institute’s website (irpp.org).
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