Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) reached a significant milestone at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in February when citizens voted overwhelmingly in favour of passing a resolution that affirms MNBC as the official Métis Government of the self-governing Métis community in B.C.
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. Budget 2021 cements this resolution with an investment of $200,000 in partnership with the Province of B.C. for the creation of a Métis Nation Reconciliation Agreement Secretariat.
As part of its commitment to transparency and citizen engagement, Métis Nation BC unveiled 9 Board Committees that will provide the Nation with essential administrative checks and balances and provide Métis Citizens with greater opportunities to provide input, feedback and oversight into the affairs of the Nation. As part of this commitment, MNBC is investing $150,000 to help support these committees. More details on the committees can be found here.
“Engaging with communities and our grassroots Citizens is vital for the health of MNBC,” says Acting President, Lissa Dawn Smith. “This investment from MNBC makes clear that we are committed to engaging our Métis peoples across the province more frequently and consistently.”
The Cabinet Committees will play a key role within MNBC’s governance and operational structure with committee members to include members of the MNBC Cabinet, Métis citizens, Métis Elders, Métis Business owners, external legal counsel, and the Chair of the BC Métis Assembly of Natural Resources.
“Engaging communities is vital to the health of a prosperous Métis Nation British Columbia,” says Pixie Wells, President of the Fraser Valley Métis Association. “While the COVID pandemic has closed the door on many of our engagement events, it has created new opportunities. I look forward to a continued expansion of MNBC engagement with Chartered Communities, both virtually and in-person.”
MNBC is also committing to engage Chartered Communities in the budget development process much earlier in advance of 2022/23’s budget. More details on engagement will be available later this year. There is also much needed investment in MNBC’s Registry, with the previously announced $1.1-million Wahkohtowin (Registry Renewal) Project. Wahkohtowin includes new registry equipment and software, office supply support for communities and new full-time staff positions. Those positions include new registry support personnel, regional liaison staff members and a new Citizenship Recruitment Coordinator position to assist new citizens with their applications and promote the benefits of citizenship, with the ultimate goal of improving customer service for all Citizens, new and returning.
More details on the budget can be found here.