Indigenous leaders should have keys to 100 Wellington, Metis leader says


The Metis National Council wants to be given their own set of keys to a building across from Parliament Hill that has been designated as space for Indigenous Peoples.

The leaders of the Metis National Council, the Assembly of First Nations and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami met in Ottawa last week to discuss the status of the former U.S. embassy building at 100 Wellington St.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed in 2017 to dedicate the building to Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

David Chartrand of the Metis National Council says he told his fellow leaders how he recently tried to show the building to a delegation of Metis citizens, but had to send requests to several federal officials before finally getting inside, a process he found frustrating.

Chartrand says Indigenous leaders shouldn't have to ask permission from federal bureaucrats to access the space, and so he wants all three of the national Indigenous organizations to have their own sets of keys to the building.

Plans were underway for the renovated building to open last summer, but those plans have stalled following calls from the Algonquin Nation to be included as a full and equal partner in the project, negotiations that are ongoing.