The future of role of the Metis Nation of Ontario (MNO) within the Metis National Council (MNC) is a “pivotal debate” says a spokesperson with the national organization.
David Chartrand, speaking in the second part of a Face to Face interview with Host Dennis Ward that is set to run Tuesday night, is also the long time president of the Manitoba Metis Federation says Ontario is the “gateway to the eastern invasion.”
He, and others, are worried the citizenship regulations put in place by the MNO are opening the floodgates to hundreds of thousands of people claiming to be Metis.
“You can just pop up and say you’re Metis, and that’s what’s been happening in eastern Canada,” said Chartrand. “[It’s] starting to happen in Ontario, so there’s a clear issue that are we are facing that we are calling the third invasion.”
The first two battles that Chartrand is referring to are the 1870 Red River Resistance and the 1885 Northwest Resistance.
In more recent years, significant court rulings, recognition of rights and negotiations between the MNC and the federal government have non-Indigenous people “saying wow, I want in. I want a piece of this,” says Chartrand.
“Now that we’re being successful, people want a piece of that of that and want a part of that money, they want a part of those rights,” says Chartrand.
“If they want to go to court and fight for yourselves, go ahead, do like we did, we waited 200 years to get to where we are so go and fight your Metis rights if you want to classify yourself Metis, but you’re not part of our Nation,” says Chartrand.
Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project important for Metis
Part one of Ward’s interview with Chartrand largely dealt with the multi-billion dollar Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project.
The federal government bought the $4.5 billion pipeline project that, if built, will carry bitumen from Edmonton, Alta., to Burnaby, B.C.
The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is a great opportunity, economically for Metis people said Chartrand in part one.
Chartrand recently applauded the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal to uphold the approval of the project.
According to Chartrand, Trans Mountain is a nation-building project.
“We believe that Trans Mountain pipeline is very important for this country,” he said.
In Manitoba, Enbridge’s Line 3 project was also important economically said Chartrand.
According to Chartrand, 220 Metis citizens worked on Line 3, earning more than $7-million dollars during construction and new Metis owned companies started up because of it all.
Chartrand believes there can be a balance between economic development and protecting the environment.
“You’re going to have people, environmentalists coming out who are not part of the Indigenous world because they have an agenda and they will disappear back into their urbanite communities and we’ll be left to fend for ourselves,” says Chartrand.
“To save our environment is going to cost money. It’s not going to come by quitting all economics, altogether and the environment is going to take care of itself.