Glen McCallum. Photo courtesy of pinehouselake.com
The newly elected president of the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan sees the weekend election as a chance for a new beginning.
Glen McCallum was elected president, Gerald Morin was re-elected as vice president, two other executive positions were filled and 12 regional representatives were elected.
McCallum says he wants to get to work right away, first meeting with his new team. McCallum says it won’t be him that leads the Metis organization out of the political wilderness, but the new team, who will work together to begin reaping some of the benefits for Canada’s Metis people that have been awarded in recent Supreme Court decisions.
The Daniels decision gave Metis recognition under the constitution and made them a federal responsibility. The other Supreme Court ruling gave Metis people the same hunting rights as Treaty Indians.
McCallum also wants to work with Ottawa to restore funding that was cut off in 2014, when the Saskatchewan Metis Nation failed to hold regular legislative assemblies.
“I am very excited,” he said. “I would not have put my hat in the ring if things were not working out the way they are because I am so confident of the working relationship that we can develop as a Metis government with the federal and provincial governments.”
McCallum says the weekend election was an indication of how things should be done. He says no matter who people voted for, it is up to the regional representatives and the executive to represent everyone.
“No matter who the Metis people of the province voted for, we will represent all of the Metis people in the province and will continue to do a good job, even a great job.”
This was the first election since 2012. Voter turnout was about 5,100, or about 13 per cent of the electorate. This is up from 7.5 per cent five years ago, when only about 3,000 people cast their ballots.