A little more than a year after losing its funding, the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S) is receiving some good news, the money could soon start flowing again.
The Provincial Métis Council has agreed to a third-party funding proposal by the federal government.
“It is my understanding that the Provincial Métis Council passed a motion to accept the conditions to get to the next stage, which will be actually looking at the specific contract and sign off on it,” said MN-S President Robert Doucette.
Doucette said he was ready to agree to the conditions last month, but the provincial métis council wanted to wait one more month before making a decision.
Last Saturday, they met once again with representatives of the federal government in Saskatoon and formally agreed to the terms.
The new agreement comes one month after Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett announced the Liberal government would reinstate funding to the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan.
“On Saturday I said to the provincial métis council members that we need to get a legislative assembly and allow our people a meeting to give direction and we need to get to an election,” Doucette said.
Under the terms of the new agreement, the third party, which has not been named, would be responsible for the administration and finances of the organization until the next election is held.
Funding was initially cut off in late 2014 by the former Conservative Government, because the MN-S had not held a legislative assembly that year, which was required under its funding agreement.
Doucette said he is anxious to get back to work and get the bills paid.
“At the end of January, we are going to be two and a half months behind in rent,” he said.
Doucette said members of the executive have not received a paycheck since last April and none of the office staff have been working.
paNOW did attempt to contact the Ministry of Indigenous and Northern Affairs for comment.
A statement was issued instead.
“The Government of Canada has been working with the leadership of the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan to support the organization in overcoming its current challenges and reaffirming its role in representing the interests of the Métis people of Saskatchewan,” said media spokesperson Michelle Perron. “(The) Department is continuing to work with MN-S leadership on implementation of a funding agreement based on the Jan. 16 discussions.
There has been no indication from the federal government when the funding would be re-instated.
Doucette could not confirm a timeline either but said he did hope it would be soon.
The Provincial Métis Council is expected to meet in Prince Albert in early February.