September 18, 2019

Winnipeg
23° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

'A massive win,' MMF leader says on eve of Ottawa's apology for Métis veterans mistreatment

David Chartrand, who has led the charge for Métis veterans across the country, will be in Regina Tuesday to hear Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay apologize on behalf of Canada. (Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press files)</p>

David Chartrand, who has led the charge for Métis veterans across the country, will be in Regina Tuesday to hear Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay apologize on behalf of Canada. (Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press files)

OTTAWA — The federal government will do 'the honourable thing' Tuesday when it issues an apology for abandoning Métis veterans of the Second World War.

“The day has come where justice is done,” Manitoba Metis Federation president David Chartrand said Monday, adding the gesture will help the veterans' descendants move forward.

Chartrand, who has led the charge for Métis veterans across the country, will be in Regina Tuesday to hear Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay apologize on behalf of Canada.

It’s estimated that hundreds of Métis people enlisted as soldiers during the Second World War. Indigenous people signed up for service at a higher rate than the general population and were promised the same compensation as other Canadians, but it often didn’t materialize.

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

OTTAWA — The federal government will do 'the honourable thing' Tuesday when it issues an apology for abandoning Métis veterans of the Second World War.

"The day has come where justice is done," Manitoba Metis Federation president David Chartrand said Monday, adding the gesture will help the veterans' descendants move forward.

Chartrand, who has led the charge for Métis veterans across the country, will be in Regina Tuesday to hear Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay apologize on behalf of Canada.

It’s estimated that hundreds of Métis people enlisted as soldiers during the Second World War. Indigenous people signed up for service at a higher rate than the general population and were promised the same compensation as other Canadians, but it often didn’t materialize.

That left battle-traumatized Métis people without help from the federal government to get career training, find jobs or access necessary health care, Chartrand said.

"It’s not what they wanted; it’s what they were promised," he said. "A lot of them turned to alcohol to help the pain."

Many died young and their children grew up with far less economic security and emotional support than other veterans' families.

Ottawa compensated First Nations veterans in the early 2000s, but not Métis.

A February report from the House veterans committee said the lack of an apology was a barrier to reconciliation.

"The commemoration of past sacrifices is an irreplaceable unifying force that can open paths to easing disagreements, sincerely and mutually recognizing injustices, and committing to healing them," the MPs argued.

The report also noted that while most First Nations people were registered in band documents shared with Ottawa, there were fewer Métis records.

In June, the Métis National Council, which includes the MMF, signed a $30-million payment agreement with Ottawa. Chartrand has spent two decades pushing for a deal.

The agreement extends to Métis veterans alive as of June 2016; the bulk of the funding will go to a trust for scholarships and initiatives to commemorate Métis vets.

So far, the MNC has been able to confirm fewer than a dozen who are still alive.

One of them, from western Manitoba, will get a $20,000 cheque Tuesday. He served in Canada, but has a deceased brother who was deployed in Europe.

Chartrand said German troops took the brother as a prisoner of war after Canadians landed near Juno Beach in Normandy, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

He said many teenagers and young men stepped up in the Second World War, when government agents recruited soldiers in Métis villages.

"When they put the campaign out, our people went in droves; they almost emptied out all the men," he said.

Tuesday’s apology stems from a pledge Chartrand said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made before the 2015 election.

"For us it’s a massive win," he said.

dylan.robertson@freepress.mb.ca

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

History

Updated on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 at 2:12 PM CDT: Adds dropped word in headline.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us