We've changed that a lot in this country. There's no doubt in the prairies that you're either Métis or you're first nation. There is no such thing as non-status. I hear that phrase all the time, and I don't know what that is. In the west, the prairies, you're either part of the Métis nation or you're part of a first nation.
There's a clear, distinct position now that has evolved throughout time in bureaucracies of government. No matter which party has been in, the same position has been taken on the Métis, which is that we're not part of any fiduciary legal relationship with Canada. We were locked out of any relationship with INAC, Indian Affairs, even Health Canada—all of them. However, since Daniels, all that has changed. There's a shift of a circle coming and indigenous governments are being given the respect that's been owing to them.
I can say openly anywhere that I'm very, very proud today in this country. The Métis nation is finally finding its place in Confederation. It's taken us a long damn time to get here, and I can't wait to make sure that it's resolved during my time. I've been elected in seven elections. I serve for four years and three months. We have a province-wide election by ballot. I've been serving now for 22 years as president.
My background is that I come from the Department of Justice. I have a doctorate and was given an honorary doctorate from.... I have tons of awards from everywhere for all my years of service and work.
However, there's nothing more important to me. That's why I wanted to come here for this file too. I have an assembly happening right now; it starts tomorrow morning. I have 3,000 delegates coming from across Manitoba, and we have one of the biggest gatherings in western Canada. The Métis nation of MMF is a very powerful government in the west.
I wanted to come here personally for this, to send as powerful a message as I can to you that you do not give this up. I don't want a study taking three years, five years, or 10 years and you guys deciding that now we think we should do right when there's not a veteran alive. You can keep your study. You can keep your promise. You can keep anything you want, because you've already missed the opportunity to say “I'm sorry.” That's what I can't see go through here and missing a chance like this. There are so few left alive, and if we don't fix this problem, this wrong, then we all deserve to live with that shame.