Métis Nation and Sask. government sign agreements to advance firearms safety, public service education

Premier Scott Moe (left) and MN–S President Glen McCallum (right) sign to MOUs at the Métis Nation Legislative Assembly in Saskatoon on Nov. 25, 2023. – Métis Nation – Saskatchewan/Submitted

The provincial government has signed two memoranda of understanding (MOU) with the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan (MN–S) on “shared issues” of firearms safety and public service education.

Premier Scott Moe and MN–S President Glen McCallum signed the agreements at the Métis Nation Legislative Assembly held over the weekend in Saskatoon.

McCallum said the relationship with the province has progressed over the six years he’s been president.

He said it’s beneficial to work as a collaborative voice through MOUs.

“Too many times we’ve been left on the sidelines, but more importantly, not communicated with in a proper way. We’re doing that. The premier and I get along very well,” he said.

“Just because we’re in power, doesn’t mean we’re not human beings. We get to understand each other in regards to where we’re coming from.”

Firearms agreement stems from federal bans

The firearms safety MOU comes after regulation changes by the federal government to address gun violence, including placing a ban on over 1,500 models of assault-style guns – The MN–S and the province say this could lead to unnecessary seizures and prosecution of Indigenous peoples. 

In response, the province introduced the Saskatchewan Firearms Act last December to protect the rights of lawful gun owners. It includes licensing requirements, compensation for seizures, and testing to ensure seized firearms meet protection and safety standards.

The MOU outlines the province’s agreement to coordinate with MN–S to educate Métis citizens on new firearm laws and to become licensed and law-abiding gun owners.

“We always take into account the harvesting piece, that’s what’s important to me – our trappers, our harvesters, how does the law affect harvesters?” said McCallum.

“Those are the conversations that we need to have.”

Saskatchewan’s firearms office is looking at investing $50,000 into a community educator position to work with Métis people. 

“I look forward to…learning more about what we can do for them as part of our ongoing work to represent responsible firearms owners,” said Chief Firearms Officer Robert Freberg.

Another possibility, according to the MOU, is hosting one-day courses to obtain a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL).

The MOU is in effect until Jan. 1, 2025.

Métis education in public service industry

The second agreement involves coordinating on education in the public service sector on Métis history.

Goals include developing or improving access to education, working with organizations to deliver these educational resources, and recruiting more Métis people.

This MOU aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendation for governments to provide Indigenous education to public service employees.