Métis Nation ends funding agreement with province over lack of representation

Métis Nation of Saskatchewan President Glen McCallum speaks at Back to Batoche opening ceremonies in July 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

The Métis Nation of Saskatchewan (MN-S) is terminating a funding agreement with the provincial government.

In a Thursday news release from the MN-S, the governing authority for Métis people said the province denied its representation on the Clarence Campeau Development Fund (CCDF).

However, in an emailed statement, the Government of Saskatchewan claimed it actually disagreed to board appointment changes that would mean MN-S would take over completely.

CCDF is meant to provide support for new and existing Métis business owners and entrepreneurs.

“MN-S was forced to make this decision because the province and CCDF have repeatedly blocked MN-S from providing input and oversight into CCDF affairs. MN-S carries all the obligations and liabilities associated with the funding agreement yet has been shut out of CCDF’s governance and decision-making,” said the news release.

It said over the past two years, MN-S has tried several times to negotiate a fair agreement with both the Government of Saskatchewan and the CCDF, but both parties were unwilling to give MN-S a seat at the table.

“The Métis Nation of Saskatchewan has a responsibility to advocate and act in the best interests of our citizens, and this current structure is denying us the opportunity to do so.” said MN-S President Glen McCallum.

“Right now, our voices are being silenced.”

The provincial government expressed disappointment that MN-S chose to end the agreement, being recognized as one of the most successful Métis financial institutions in Canada.

In 2018 alone, said the government, the CCDF helped created over 400 jobs and disperse $7.5 million.

“MN-S has requested changes to the board appointment process that would see the MN-S having complete control of the process. This is something that the Government of Saskatchewan cannot agree to. We view our arrangement with MN-S and CCDF as collaborative in nature with provincial interests also being respected,” read the statement.

However, the province said it will continue to work with MN-S on an agreement that reflects their mutual interests on furthering business in Métis communities.

“In the interim, the CCDF will continue to operate as status quo until a solution is found, and the government’s intention is that CCDF employees and clients that have received funding and financing would not be impacted.”