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By: Richard Cuddy, President of MNO Credit River M¨¦tis Council

Region 8 MeetsMNO Region Eight council members and PCMNO representatives

Chartered M¨¦tis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Community Councils in Region Eight took part in their first historic regional meeting on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013.

The MNO Toronto-York Region M¨¦tis Council hosted the other Region Eight Councils; which are the MNO Oshawa and Durham M¨¦tis Council and the MNO Credit River M¨¦tis Council.

The meeting was organized by MNO Toronto-York Region M¨¦tis Council Secretary Treasurer, Marilyn Hew and was held at a Royal Canadian Legion in Toronto.

MNO Toronto-York Region M¨¦tis Council President, Robert Bird, opened the meeting by welcoming and introducing council members and other guests. After which, MNO Toronto-York Region M¨¦tis Council Senator Alis Kennedy delivered the opening prayer.

In attendance were: MNO Toronto-York Region M¨¦tis Council members President Bird, Senator Kennedy, Marilyn Hew, Kate Stewart-McNeil, Patrick Diamond, Jo-Anne Diamond and Christine Skura; MNO Oshawa and Durham M¨¦tis Council Interim President Kevin Henry, Senator Cecile Wagar, And?e Bosse, Claire Kearns, Michael Diotte and Auriele Diotte; MNO Credit River M¨¦tis Council President Richard Cuddy, Bill Morrison, Joyce Tolles, Darlene Lent, David Neville and Jean-Marc Maheu; Provisional Council of the MNO Vice-Chair Sharon McBride, Senator Joe Poitras, Region Eight Councillor Anita Tucker and Post-secondary Representative Jennifer Henry.

Guest speaker Mark Bowler, Director of MNO Lands, Resources and Consultations, provided the participants with an overview MNO¡¯s program related to the duty of the Crown to consult and accommodate regional rights-bearing M¨¦tis communities throughout the province.

Bowler¡¯s presentation, What is consultation and how does it work?, outlined the MNO¡¯s regional consultation protocols. ?He led discussions on the definitions associated with consultations and how to strengthen and effectively engage in consultation and accommodation processes. Bowler explained the potential triggers and desired outcomes of consultations which included examples of what could go right and wrong. He also described the communications surrounding consultation processes and the importance of building relationships with proponents.

Participants were enthusiastically engaged and asked questions or made comments which often led to in depth discussions. ¡°Mark¡¯s presentation was most helpful. His skill at presenting and maintaining the informal conversational style with such a large group was a delight to watch,¡± stated President Bird. ¡°We are most fortunate to have someone of his ability as MNO¡¯s Director of Lands, Resources and Consultations.? I hope that he will be available again to offer more insight and another opportunity to discuss further the themes and topics that were introduced.¡±

Participants learned how the MNO is working for its citizens for the future; for their environment, harvesting, traditional knowledge, culture and language. This long term focus helps the MNO make clear decisions.

Bowler ended the presentation by discussing the responsibilities of the MNO, the community councils and communications with MNO citizens. It is important that citizens understand that the MNO governance structure operates with a high degree of transparency with input all the way down to the community level. This is a rare structure and something that M¨¦tis Nation of Ontario citizens should be proud of.

The regional meeting was a very successful opportunity for council members from Region Eight to trade experiences and information, and how to become stronger as a region and nation.

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