Tony Belcourt’s impact on Canadian politics cannot be underestimated. An active political figure of the Métis community since he was elected Vice-President of the Métis Association of Alberta in 1969, he helped form the Native Council of Canada (now the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples) and was elected its first President in 1971. In subsequent years, Mr. Belcourt was instrumental in creating a national voice for Canada’s Métis which was an important factor in the Métis being recognized in the Constitution Act, 1982 as one of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada, an achievement which holds great personal significance to him. He was also a key figure in representing non-Status Indians in their struggle to regain their rights prior to Bill C-31.
From these early days to the present Mr. Belcourt has made it his career-long commitment to raise awareness of Métis rights and to help promote and preserve the history and culture of the Métis in Canada. In this capacity, he was instrumental in establishing the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) in 1993 and since then has been elected President for four consecutive terms, a position he continues to hold. A significant achievement of the MNO during this period was the recent landmark ruling in September 2003 by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Powley that recognized and affirmed the existence of Métis Constitutional rights in Canadian law.
Today Mr. Belcourt is a member of the Board of Governors of the Métis National Council and is the MNC’s Minister for International Affairs. He is a member of the Governing Council of Trent University’s Ph.D. program in Native Studies, a Patron of the Diana Fowler LeBlanc Aboriginal Social Work Scholarship and a member of the Crossing Boundaries National Council. He is also President of the Métis Nation of Ontario Economic Development Corporation and Chair of the Métis Nation of Ontario Cultural Commission.