A significant milestone in B.C. Indigenous history was achieved today with the passing of a resolution at the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) Annual General Meeting that affirms MNBC as the official Métis Government of the self-governing Métis community in B.C. The AGM is currently underway virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions.
While MNBC has functioned as the de facto government of the Métis people since 1996, it has done so as a registered non-profit under British Columbia’s Societies Act. The passing of the resolution officially upholds the existing MNBC Constitution, Métis Nation Governing Assembly Act, Métis Women of British Columbia Act, Métis Youth of British Columbia Act, Electoral Act, Senate Act, Natural Resources Act, Citizenship Act, and Métis Veterans of British Columbia Act, as the Constitution and legislative acts of the Métis Government of the British Columbia Métis Community.
“This historic achievement is a tremendous step forward for our Nation and our citizens,” said MNBC Acting President Lissa Smith. “It honours the evolution of Métis self-government structures in Canada over the past 300 years and affirms the rights of Métis people as declared in Canada’s Constitution Act, 1982, the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Canada-Métis Nation Accord, and B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. An exciting new chapter in our history has begun!”
Historically, the governments of Canada and British Columbia have required MNBC to incorporate in order to establish inter-governmental relationships with MNBC as the valid representative of Métis people in the province. The passing of this resolution authorizes the MNBC Board of Directors to enter into negotiations with the governments of Canada and British Columbia to develop and sign self-government agreements setting out the fiscal arrangements, including other transitional requirements to support the Métis community in B.C. as it exercises its inherent rights, authorities and jurisdictions, and as it maintains, strengthens, and develops its distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions of self-government. The MNGA shall ratify any self-government agreements entered into by MNBC’s Board of Directors and the Government of Canada and/or the Government of British Columbia by a 75% supermajority vote before such agreements are able to come into effect, and, if ratified, it will proceed to final ratification by the MNBC Citizens via province-wide referendum.