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Innisfail council raising Métis flag to honour recognition

Council also including Treaty 7 flag as Innisfail’s response to ongoing truth and reconciliation process with Canada’s Indigenous peoples
Innisfail town council approved a motion on March 13 to install the flags of the Metis Nation of Alberta and Treaty 7 in council chambers alongside the ones for the Town of Innisfail, Province of Alberta and Canada. Johnnie Bachusky/MVP Staff

INNISFAIL – Just two weeks after the federal government signed a historic agreement with the Métis Nation of Alberta, Innisfail town council has agreed to place two new special flags inside its chamber.

On March 13 at town council’s regular meeting, it was unanimously approved to install the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) and Treaty 7 flags alongside the longstanding ones for the Town of Innisfail, Province of Alberta and Canada.

Council’s agreement followed mayor Jean Barclay’s passionate proposal for the flag raising inside council chambers.

Barclay said her proposal was following the recent lead by Sylvan Lake town council.

“Recently, Canada officially recognized the Métis Nation of Alberta as their own government, and it represents its citizens and communities within Alberta, and inherent right to self-government,” said Barclay, adding she was also calling for the raising of the Treaty 7 flag. “I think doing both of these things is really just a small gesture on our path to truth and reconciliation, and really illustrating our commitment to ensuring we demonstrate we're open to partnerships and relationships going forward with them.”

Barclay added she hoped “down the road” the two flags will also be raised outside in front of the administration building.

“I noticed other municipalities have gotten into quite a debate over it. I don’t have a problem with it,” said Coun. Gavin Bates.

The new agreement between the MNA and the Government of Canada was signed in Edmonton on Feb. 24.

In a media release the MNA said the signing builds on a self-government agreement previously signed in 2019, and from formal negotiations between the parties that began in 2017.

“In keeping with the longstanding goal of the Métis Nation of Alberta for recognition of their unique identity, culture, and governance on a nation-to-nation, government-to-government basis, the agreement commits the parties to ongoing negotiations towards a core self-government treaty within the next two years,” said the media release.

The MNA noted federal implementation legislation will be introduced “as soon as possible” following the signing of the new agreement and it remains a priority for both parties.

“For almost a century, our citizens and communities in Alberta have come together, with the vision of Louis Riel in their hearts, to build the Métis Nation of Alberta as their Métis government,” said Audrey Poitras, president of the MNA, in the media release.

“With the recent ratification of our Otipemisiwak Métis Government Constitution and the formal recognition of our Métis government by Canada, we now have a clear pathway to finally put into place an enduring nation-to-nation, government-to-government relationship with the federal Crown through a modern-day treaty.”


Johnnie Bachusky

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