On Dec. 9, Bill 153, the Métis Nation of Ontario Secretariat Act, passed with unanimous consent in the Ontario legislature. The MNO Act does not deal with or interfere with the Métis Nation’s internal governance and institutions that are grounded on its inherent rights of self-government and self-determination, but it recognizes and accommodates the MNO Secretariat’s unique status as the corporate arm of the Métis Nation. “Less than two decades ago, we struggled to have the existence of the Métis people and our communities acknowledged by the government of the day, which led to us turning to the courts for recognition and justice. Now, in partnership with the Ontario government, we are witness to this type of recognition legislation being unanimously passed by a legislature that once put a $5,000 bounty on Louis Riel’s head,” said MNO President Gary Lipinski in a statement. David Zimmer, minister of Aboriginal Affairs, said the legislation illustrated the government’s willingness to strengthen and improve its relationship with the MNO. “The Métis Nation of Ontario Secretariat Act will be another step forward on the path to reconciliation,” said Zimmer. Lipinski said the bill is the result of repeated resolutions on the part of the MNO to get such legislation passed.
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