Chartier reelected MNC president

The Métis National Council re-elects Clement Chartier as its president in weekend vote in Saskatoon.

The Métis National Council re-elected Clement Chartier as president in a vote Saturday in Saskatoon.

The council's general assembly is holding its annual general meeting of delegates and officials from five inter-provincial Métis groups.

Chartier has served as the national council president since 2003. He told CBC News he expects a busy term as the Métis group contends with several long-standing items.

"[We'll be] seeking a new constitution, defining our political existence within Canada," he said. "And also dealing with some of the harvesting rights cases — hunting and fishing rights cases — lands rights cases and some of the issues in respect to Métis citizenship."

Chartier's re-election comes as people of Métis descent celebrate the Year of the Métis Nation.

School's status a key issue

Among the items up for discussion in Saskatoon was a push to have the Saskatchewan boarding school Chartier attended as a youth acknowledged as a residential school by the federal and provincial governments.

The situation surrounding compensation for thousands of children, most of them Métis, who boarded at the school in Île-à-la-Crosse between 1884 and 1976, has long been in contention. Île-à-la-Crosse is 520 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

The federal government originally had responsibility for the  Île-à-la-Crosse school, but the school came under the provincial government over time.

Ottawa has said the school wasn't listed as a beneficiary in a $4-billion residential schools compensation agreement in 2007 because there were no living survivors from when the school was federally run.

But Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged in 2008 that the situation surrounding the status of the school was an "unresolved issue."

The Métis National Council is waiting for the province to decide whether it will move forward on the issue, Chartier said.

"So at least we're in dialogue, and I'm not sure if that's going to lead anywhere, but at least we're talking."