Métis veterans receive apology, promise of compensation from federal minister
Feds set aside $30M for Métis veterans earlier this year
Métis veterans in Canada have received an apology and promise of compensation from a federal minister.
In a packed room at the Royal Canadian Legion in Regina, Minister of Veterans Affairs Lawrence MacAuley acknowledged Tuesday the long-held belief of Métis advocates that their people were not treated fairly once returning from war.
MacAuley said the government regrets "that our country has taken three-quarters of a century" to make the acknowledgement.
"We apologize," he said.
MacAuley said Métis people fought valiantly in several wars, but weren't given benefits on return to Canada.
The Métis Nation's Minister Responsible for Veterans, David Chartrand, commended the apology, but expressed sadness over those vets who never heard it because they died young, died of suicide, or died stuck in a bottle.
MacAuley also announced $30-million for Métis veterans, $20,000 of which was directly given in check form to 93-year-old veteran Norman Goodon.
CBC had previously reported on the federal government setting aside this money.
"They deserve our respect and we say thank you," MacAuley said.
Chartrand said the $20,000 compensation Goodon received was akin to what First Nations veterans received years ago, and that there are nine or 10 other veterans they've already identified who will receive $20,000 checks.
He said the descendants of any Métis veterans who died within past three years will get the same amount and vowed the money will be spent wisely.
Métis Nation-Saskatchewan President Glen McCallum told the crowd that reconciliation is never too late.