Indigenous Op-Ed Western Canada

Minister Vandal, A Win For The Metis Nation, A Win For The North

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By. Honourable Dr. Robert Falcon Ouellette, PhD

Dan Vandal, the Member of Parliament for St-Boniface-St-Vital was the only Westerner appointed to the 2019 federal cabinet on Wednesday, November 20 in Ottawa. The federal election held on October 21 was a prairie fire of malcontentment which burned bright and removed much of the Liberal representation in the federal Liberal government. The Liberal party was reduced in Western Canada to a small contingent of only 4 MPs from a high of 12 elected in 2015.

Dan Vandal, the new Minister of Northern Affairs has overcome being an outsider and has found success in the Ontario-Quebec centric universe of federal politics. Dan started out as a social worker at the age of 30, by 35 he felt the call of Winnipeg city council and was in office from 1995 till 2014. In 2015 Vandal was elected MP. While sitting as a backbench MP for the past 4 years he has grown to understand the ecosystem of Parliament. His appointment has a larger significance though; that of the Metis Nation. Vandal is a proud Metis and has never been afraid of sharing his heritage, even before the current period where being Indigenous is a benefit.

The Metis have been the strongest Indigenous allies for the federal Liberal government. The President of the Manitoba Metis Federation David Chartrand has time and time again publically stood by the government. The Metis have benefited enormously from massive changes in government policy since 2015, which has seen billions in new funding for the Metis Nation. Much of this funding can be attributed to the work of Chartrand and Vandal. Chartrand has built a strong relationship with the federal government based on trust. The choice of Vandal is a demonstration of that, Metis power. Since 2015 total new spending for Inuit, First Nations and the Metis has been $21 billion, which is four Kelowna Accords. No government has done more to advance the ideals of reconciliation than the current federal government. While First Nations and Inuit waffle and attack the government for every slight, Chartrand and Vandal have a steady hand in steering the ship of reconciliation through rough waters. Now Vandal
has the opportunity to bring the Inuit on board.

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