Shocking Treatment of Staff Member by MNBC Revealed on Coffee Talk

(Vancouver, BC) Coffee Talk on Thursday evening of July 14th, 2011 ran the gamut of emotions from Métis pride and achievement over the recent First Nation Protocol Welcome at the Métis Trading Post and Artisan Exhibit to the gut wrenching story of single mom Sherry Daniels, a long time employee of MNBC, who was thrown out into the street destitute and frightened.

Coffee Talk moderator Keith Henry began the show with a short but fascinating history lesson about the Métis people and their remarkable contribution to opening up western Canada. The story of how Métis were indispensable to world renowned British Columbia explorers like Mackenzie, Fraser and Thompson as they mapped the land and rivers of this province in search of an overland route to the Pacific and ultimately a trade route to the orient. This historical information is available in George and Terry Goulet’s book released in 2008 about the Métis history in British Columbia.

Coffee Talk then cut away to a seven minute video vignette from last Saturday’s historic First Nations Welcoming Protocol featuring Squamish Chief Ian Campbell, Musqueam Councilor Wade Grant and Tsleil Waututh Representative Dennis Thomas commemorating the Métis Trading Post and Artisan Exhibit on their traditional First Nation shared territories.

Coffee Talk Moderator Keith Henry read several email letters at the request of the authors, the first a family of eight in Prince George who are so strongly opposed to the MNBC debt and financial mismanagement they have decided to cut up their MNBC citizenship cards. The second email came from BCMF founding board member Joe Desjarlais who thoughtfully made public his own personal reasons for removing his and his family’s respected names from the MNBC citizenship list effectively terminating their association with the MNBC.

Coffee Talk moderator Keith Henry also shared a response to an email from the president of the Fraser Valley Métis Association (FVMA). The email was sent to correct her inaccuracies and factual errors in assumption and reminding the president of FVMA that she, through her vote and blind support of the MNBC, was also responsible for allowing the MNBC overspending to balloon to the MNBC reported $2,300,000.00 debt of the MNBC plus many other issues.

The heartbreaking story of former MNBC staff member Sherry Daniels, as told to BCMF Founding President Keith Henry, was captivating and disgusting all in the breath. Ms. Daniels is a Métis single Mom who began as a receptionist at MNBC and worked her way to roles as the Travel Coordinator and Administrative Assistant. Her performance was evaluated every year for the entire six years she worked at MNBC and she was rated as excellent in every one having even been provided an award of excellence for her service to the MNBC at one time.

Sherry had suffered some health problems that required a short medical leave in 2010 and in fact after she returned to work her doctor had advised that she go on a longer medical leave. Upon her returning to work last spring rumors began to reach her ears from MNBC leaders and some employees that she was being targeted as a CCMC ‘mole’ and in alleged communication with CCMC representative Keith Henry.

Although there was absolutely no written or verbal communication between Ms. Daniels and Mr. Henry the witch-hunt was on and MNBC gave Sherry Daniels a lay-off notice on or around the 6th of March 2011. In her letter of notice MNBC officials cited a lack of money and then made a claim that there were also work performance issues. The last claim was devastating for Ms. Daniels who prides herself on order in the workplace and in her home.

The unfolding events that occurred next can only be described as mean spirited and below contempt. MNBC then lays her off and offers no severance pay after six years of employment claiming she was just a contract employee and not deserving of severance. Finally when Ms. Daniels applies to the MNBC insurance carrier for medical leave expenses she was told they had cancelled her benefits as of March 1st 2011 before they had given her the layoff notice or even discussed her impending unemployment.

MNBC knows Sherry Daniels can’t fight back through the courts because she lacks the resources, so she just has to accept her fate at the hands of the MNBC who, after laying her and several other vital staff members off, went on a luxury retreat in the Okanagan.

These facts have been sworn to and even now Sherry Daniels is not by her own admission a disgruntled former employee of MNBC just a very disappointed one.

BCMF Founding President Keith Henry said, “This is the prime example of irresponsibility that has characterized the cruel and selfish thinking of the MNBC leadership and in particular President Bruce Dumont. Is there anyone in the federal government or the provincial government that could or would support the insensitive actions perpetrated against a long-term employee such as the case with Sherry Daniels in their own systems? Of course not because their federal and provincial unions would not allow such action without union intervention. Moreover this is not some stranger, Sherry is a Métis person and her description during the show about her feelings in spite of the situation was admirable. She is not angry at MNBC although MNBC leaders want Métis people to believe her and others are malcontents. She is hurt and disappointed that as a Métis person the people she supported were actually leaders who could be open and transparent. She does not stop being Métis because she is not employed by the MNBC!”

BCMF Founding President Henry added, “We had a record crowd last night with approximately 2930 viewers watching Coffee Talk online at 7:30 PM last night. They heard the contempt the FVMA President showed for true democracy that BCMF is fighting against each day. These MNBC purported leaders actually feel they have some right to stop information to the grass roots Métis people in BC. BCMF has presented factual information and we are 100% confident that when Métis people review both sides of the challenges they better understand why BCMF has come to be as a new beginning. We are confused why these community leaders never pass information along nor invite the BCMF to discuss the situation. Instead they blindly follow without any facts and do not pass any information along to the Métis people throughout BC.”

BCMF Founding President Henry concluded; “Where was MNBC President Dumont to answer BCMF questions during Coffee Talk? He hides behind individuals who claim to lead like the FVMA President and the result is absolutely no accountability. This is systemic as MNBC and these community leaders are what have created this entire situation. I do not believe for a minute that grass roots Métis people are not capable of understanding MNBC mismanagement. On the contrary, I am convinced that the Métis people do understand as many are simply bypassing MNBC leadership and that of these Métis Community organizations that are not open or transparent with their membership. How any government in British Columbia or Canada supports this type of governance and significant financial mismanagement is ridiculous. Where are the federal and provincial government officials? Do they actually believe MNBC is okay? Trust me when I say that BCMF will hold people responsible for this mess in the future. The Métis people of British Columbia deserve better that this.”

Media Inquiries:

Keith Henry

President

British Columbia Métis Federation

k.henry@bcMétis.com

1-778-388-5013

Downloads:

Click here to download this press release in PDF format.

 

9 Responses to Shocking Treatment of Staff Member by MNBC Revealed on Coffee Talk

  1. J.C. July 15, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    It is not only MNBC that has this sense of entitlement. It has been the history within the interior of BC as well. I had a similar experience after serving for 6 years at a Metis Service Provider in the Interior. His only response after I provided 6 years of service with zero incidents and an employee record that had rave reviews, he stated “because he decided”.
    I too am a single mom of 4 Metis children.

    I am hearing that many individuals within power seats in the Metis divisions are also acting in unfavorable ways which do not reflect the nature and essence of the Metis. It appears to happen when sense of entitlement, power, and ownership of the business is a personal power they give themselves, along with the overpayment packages and benefits they give themselves, while front line workers are building the Metis community programs. When do they get to be accountable? Who is going to hold them accountable?

  2. Kimberly Hayek July 16, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    While I am not pleased with the treatment of Ms. Daniels and appreciate this press release, a phrase used is bothering me.
    In the 8th or 9th paragragh you refer to a ‘witch-hunt’.
    Please be careful of these words. The witch hunts were real(and still continue to this day). Millions of women, children and men were tortured and killed. So to use these words is disrespectful. However, common in mainstream media, it is not acceptable, similar to using terms in the holocust or slave times.

    Thanks,

    Kimberly

  3. Laura Langstaff July 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    Mr. Henry’s last statements seem threatening and therefore are troubling. Up until now, Mr. Henry has held himself forward as a very diplomatic person. The last statements are more like the Keith Henry I recognize. If Mr. Henry were a duly elected person actually representing Metis living in BC, I might understand the aggression. However, Mr. Henry is unelected and only represents the membership of his society, and so it would behoove him to maintain diplomatic relationships with the Metis organization whose duly elected officials enjoy a relationship outlined in a newly signed accord with the Province.

    One does not correct governance issues by abandoning process and starting up a new splinter group. No disrespect to any members of the new organization, because I know that the membership is well intended and love Metis people and the culture. Time and again this old tactic has been tried in Alberta, and has never been successful.

    My prayers are for the Metis Nation at this time. Friendships and family relationships have been negatively impacted as factions take sides. To all the performers and artists who used to greet me and said they were my friends….I wish you well, and I miss you. AS for me and my clan, we will stick to process, and follow duly elected leaders. Where change is required, we will continue to lobby for change within the democratically developed governance mechanism that Keith Henry helped build, and now has abandoned. I pray for us all! This makes me very sad.
    Laura

  4. Keith Henry July 18, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Thank you J.C. and Kimberly for the posts,

    First J.C. please accept BCMF’s sincerest regrets for the situation you found yourself in. I also really appreciated your questions about Métis power brokers. We believe in terms of the MNBC there is a way to hold them accountable. That is work with an organization like the BCMF to send a message loud and clear that the actions of leadership at the MNBC are no longer tolerated or acceptable. Our people seem to think that MNBC has to be the way. Frankly it does not and there problems are completely self created, so let them deal with it and we can move on as Métis people to deal with issues that really matter.

    Kimberly please be assured that your point is well taken. We meant no disrespect and will be more careful with the use of metaphors in the future.

    Thank you!

  5. Keith Henry July 18, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    Good day Laura,

    I want to thank you for the opinion and views shared in your post, although I certainly do not agree with your point of view but I respect it nonetheless.

    My statements about holding people responsible for the MNBC mismanagement are my opinion. It is not a threat but rather a necessary requirement considering the efforts myself and others made over a two year period. I tried to get involved, support awareness, and offer solutions. I can only surmise that you did not read the Blueprint Document or MNBC Debt Recovery Action Plan Year One that was drafted and provided by myself and several others in February. Based on your post I am not sure you have reviewed the BCMF presentation entitled “How We Got Here” that is on the BCMF homepage that provides yourself, and others, a detailed review of the situation and how it developed.

    I truly believe MNBC leaders have created the massive debt and I am not sure you understand the gravity of the financial mess. The statement about holding those responsible is 100% a democratic right in this country. Do you believe governments should not be held responsible or accountable when they create massive financial insolvency?

    On the personal notes in your blog I would only kindly request that you remain respectful and honest. I do not really know you nor have I ever worked with you so your insinuation is unfair and disrespectful. I have only been respectful to you over the years and supported your work in the role I had with the MNBC. I think highly of your skills as a performer and I would ask you not to misled readers that you somehow know me.

    In terms of the new Accord, I am confused. The only provincial Accord I am aware of is the Métis Nation Relationship Accord that was signed in 2006. I know because I was one of the lead negotiators on behalf of the MNBC at that time. The Métis Nation Relationship Accord was a direct result of the work towards the Kelowna Accord in 2006 that has since been scraped by the current Federal Government who came into power that same year.

    I will end with a note Laura and I hope you read this in the respected manner in which it was drafted. Yes I helped build the MNBC governance. I was proud of that and still to this day consider this work forged from 2004-2006 important to the Métis people. However, I can assure you and any others that I have tried at every turn to support good MNBC governance through the processes I helped create. Instead current leaders and management manipulate and redefine process that is clear to me. Instead of recognizing that people like me, and others, were trying to offer solutions they chastised me, sued myself, used MNBC resources to fight open governance, and continue to try and make people like me a “villain” by those in the MNBC who refuse to be honest about the issues. I never asked for this situation but was asked by Métis people who also felt this way and contrary to those MNBC supporters, there is a major growing number that want change. MNBC created this by the extremely poor communication, no transparency, denials for their resignations, etc. I do not recall seeing you attend any of the last MNBC AGM’s or MNGA’s to force open discussion about the issues. I know this because people like myself and others made this a priority to participate and stop the massive mismanagement.

    In time I hope you and others will stop denying the obvious. Do you and others forget these same leaders suspended three of their own Board Members for nothing more than political differences? Do you and others forget that BCMF (known before as the CCCMC) have asked sit with MNBC for over 2 years and resolve and not once did they respectfully agree? Do you and others forget that bought a school in June 2009 without any mandate in advance from the Métis people with promises three months later of how this school would result in new found riches? Plus so many other issues…

    To state to me that you believe in MNBC governance while choosing to ignore the obvious undemocratic behavior of MNBC is unfair… BCMF will be here when MNBC falls and we are rebuilding Métis governance for our people. We will have province wide democratic election processes and we are working out these processes each day.

    I wish you well in your support.

  6. Joe Desjarlais July 18, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    These recent blogs warrant a thoughtful reply. Keith continues to do an excellent job of reminding us why the BCMF exists. Now its my turn to add to the conversation, and remember that the goal is to create a conversation.

    The reactionary comments of some of the bloggers are very telling about their core beliefs. In order to move forward, many of us must begin the process of unlearning some of our core beliefs. Core beliefs are usually a mixture or theories, opinions and outright falsehoods. The reality is people believe what they want to believe about Metis national identity and civic ideology.

    I believe that many Metis people have built the idea of our Metis nation up on misguided ideals of unity. If we are honest however, we would admit that these monolithic top-down stories of Metis nationhood that we have created and reinforce don’t explain much about us, our realities, our history in Canada, or what we could aspire to in a liveable consensus, given our complexity as Metis people.

    Worse, these core beliefs have been manipulated by elites or those who uncritically support them, either in our communities or in mainstream Canada. These so-called leaders have twisted these beliefs about the Metis to support their political agendas. These distorted beliefs work to obscure or deny the enormous real historical issues that Metis people face in their communities and as citizens.. The BCMF have been very clear about many of these issues, if people took time to read the BCMF correspondence…

    Some folks may have a vested interest in the “rightness” of the MNBC organization, either emotional or otherwise. To others, its comforting to ignore the problems and hope all they go away. Perhaps you have a loyal friend in leadership, or someone you see as a hero in a position of leadership. Maybe you have spent countless hours serving and assisting your nation get to this point. You may be an employee or a friend of an employee that has spent years working for “the nation.”

    It is tempting to react with false loyalties or excuses such as the common refrain, “they are breaking up our nation.” You may be terrified of the alternative, the uncertain, but in reacting that way, this comment is simply a false belief based on misguided populism. Believe me when I say this response has been a common refrain in history.

    I leave you with one idea to consider. The tales we choose to tell about the last 3 years in BC Metis politics produce the language that we use to describe ourselves. If we choose to distort the stories, we can’t see ourselves working together (with others) to solve the real historical problems that face our communities.

    This means that we must all unlearn old thinking and misconceptions in order to establish more healthy, balanced national stories and core beliefs that really explain us. The only way to do this is through healthy debate and dialogue, the cornerstone of democracy. This will in turn stimulate a healthier political climate.

    We need to foster a conversation that works to bring people together and recognize our complexity as Metis and as Canadians. Until now, this conversation has been largely shut down.

    The BCMF, in my view, is committed to this end, and you play a central role in this as the circle keeps expanding! Keep blogging. Thanks

  7. Daryl Piper July 19, 2011 at 5:38 am #

    This is in response to Laura Langstaff ’s post. I cannot understand were you are coming from, have you read any of the information put forth by the former CCMC and now the BC Metis Federation. You seem to think because the MNBC leadership was legally elected, that means they don’t have to be accountable to the Metis people, that’s preposterous. In the real world we have opposition parties that hold ones feet to the fire. The MNBC leadership continue to ignore the governance process and their own policies and procedures. The MNBC has turned into a dictatorship and it appears that you support this.

    Okay now let’s put this into perspective MNBC borrowed 2.2 million dollars to buy a school with no community consultation and borrowed an additional 800,000 line of credit for renovations on the school for a total of 3 million. We still have not seen a business plan or feasibility study. A two year old mortgage that has not seen a single payment to date, and 245,000 in municipal taxes that MNBC still owes, school tuitions that are delinquent and yet even though the MNBC is insolvent and are on their way to bankruptcy the MNBC leadership still continue to bleed the Nation to tune of over 700,000 a year in board salaries and we have no mechanism in place to stop the bleeding. I don’t understand your logic, its this kind of thinking that has gotten us into the financial ruin that we find ourselves in today.

    The BCMF are grass roots people who have put their own resources forward because we care, and we have provided common sense solutions to the issues plaguing our Nation today. At least we did consult with the communities before bringing forward the blue print strategy. Its truly is a new beginning for our Metis Nation.

    I do respect your opinion, however I do not agree with you. The issue is not Metis against Metis its about building a Nation together.

    Daryl Piper
    Proud Metis

  8. leona mason July 20, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    I read the article about what happened to Sherry Daniels. I was quite shocked about what appened to her. I feel that as Metis people we can not treat others in disrespect. We are not raised to do things like that. I feel that MNBC should not have done what they did to her as she was a very loyal co worker there. Where is their loyality and dignity to others? I feel that we need to be honest, loyal and dedicated to what we believe. I share with what Daryl Piper said Its about building a nation together. We are to build a strong nation together.
    Respectively Yours
    Leona Mason

  9. Tim St. Denis July 29, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    I agree that an employee can be laid off for a lack of funding with a proper letter explaining why. The method MNBC used was indeed cruel and disrespectful. I have dealt with Ms. Daniels while employed by MNBC and can state that her work was top notch. I feel that some of the employees were dismissed because they refused to drink the MNBC “cool aid” on who they should and should not be talking to. IMO
    Regards
    Tim

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