Letter to Government Regarding BCMF Financial Review September 2011

The following letter was sent today to the Honourable Mary Polak, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation for the Province of British Columbia and the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada for the Government of Canada…

Dear Minister Polak and Minister Duncan,

The British Columbia Métis Federation (BCMF) continues our efforts to provide awareness of the dire financial situation plaguing the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC). The BCMF feels strongly that the Métis people of BC have a right to know how the MNBC has mismanaged government funds that directly affect the delivery of programs and services to the Métis people of this province. Furthermore, the BCMF is mystified that neither the federal or provincial governments have taken any action to rectify the financial situation at the MNBC nor have they taken any steps to make the MNBC accountable for the lack of resources that are now available to serve the Métis people of this province. BCMF has made your offices aware of the ongoing concerns in written correspondences for the last number of months.

After considerable pressure MNBC leaders finally released their Financial Statements of 2010-2011 at the end of August. For the first time MNBC’s own auditors, Manning and Elliot – Chartered Accountants, wrote: “…We draw attention to Note 13 in the financial statements which indicates that the Council incurred a net loss of $475,135 during the year ended March 31, 2011 and, as of that date, The Council’s current liabilities exceeded its assets by $5,805,862. These conditions, along with other matters as set forth in Note 13, indicate the existence of a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt about the Council’s ability to continue as a going concern”. BCMF leadership and many Métis people forecasted this financial demise two years ago.

The MNBC accounting firm of Manning Elliot are clearly concerned about the MNBC’s financial status. In their own words, these qualified individuals operating under their financial code of ethics have indicated that the MNBC may not be able to continue. In light of the conclusion drawn by Manning and Elliot, the BCMF and many Métis people of this province question; “What is the government doing to ensure that the needs of Métis people are being met and that the MNBC will not be able to continue operating in this fiscally irresponsible manner that will impact programs and services for Métis people delivered by MNBC?”

The BCMF concedes that the MNBC’s audited financial statements for 2010-2011 clearly do not provide the entire financial picture. In fact there are many unanswered questions raised regarding the numbers and how they were arrived upon. As such, the BCMF has done due diligence in conducting its own analysis with a qualified Chartered Accountant. In the attached document, The BCMF Financial Review September 2011, the questions raised from the MNBC audited financial statements are clearly articulated with plausible explanations included. Some of the greatest concerns in question are as follows;

  • Over $965,000 in travel expenses in 12 months
  • Over $635,000 in consultants and legal costs
  • Loss of employment and training funding in 6 out of our 7 Métis regions
  • Over $5 million in MNBC infrastructure costs
  • Outstanding payables as of March 31st, 2011 in excess of $2.4 million
  • Significant deferred revenue of approximately $1 million dollars
  • Organizational debt of almost $2.3 million and a negative working capital of $5.8 million
  • Plus many other issues.

Many of these identified issues are of grave concern to Métis people of BC considering the average MNBC budget is approximately 11 million annually.

The BCMF urges the federal and provincial governments to take a serious look at the attached documents. It is time for the governments to act. The MNBC mismanagement, and potential misappropriation of funds, is evident and the overextension of the MNBC to the banks is clear. There is no feasible MNBC debt recovery plan in place or mention by their auditors and the financial crisis as the MNBC will only continue to grow. Do the federal and provincial governments really wish to be a part of the final demise of the MNBC in light of so many issues each government faces today? The BCMF would like to think not. We would like to think that the care for Métis people and the proper and accountable delivery of programs and services to strengthen Métis communities and reinforce our culture and traditions would be the primary goal of your respective departments.

Once again, we thank you in advance for your time and consideration in this matter.

Thank you,

Keith Henry

President

British Columbia Métis Federation

Suite 300-3665 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC, V5R 5W2

Downloads:

Click here to download this letter in PDF format. Click here to download the BCMF Financial Review September 2011.

 

3 Responses to Letter to Government Regarding BCMF Financial Review September 2011

  1. Richard Lucier-larson September 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    Tansi All:
    As this financial mess in B.C. develops it takes on many different aspects, one of which was a e-mail sent by a Metis acquaintance from years back, who asked whether I was trying for a elected position in the MNBC Election next year.
    The text asked whether I was broke and looking for income , I assume this was meant to taunt me or whatever.
    My answer was , “No I was not broke and had no intention of embarking on that path, for to be elected to the MNBC board was guaranteed to do just that”
    I see now the remuneration reduction for board members as planned by the present board will leave the future board in the position of having to work for free, so seeing I am already serving on the BCMF as a volunteer, why would I do that and also open myself up to a possible loss of my assets in the Bank loan Guarantee.
    I can think of more comfortable things to do, like kicking a mother Grizzly in the ass
    Richard Lucier-larson
    A Metis person who can read financial statements and ahs made money as a businessman

  2. April McLean-Collart September 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    Excellent letter! The governments, both federal and provincial, have certainly been made aware of the mismanagement by MNBC and the dire financial straits the MNBC has placed themselves, and the Métis citizens in. The MNBC is the elected Provincial Body that purports to represent the Métis citizens of this province, and its citizens are continuing to question their leadership.

    The financial statements are very troubling as well. If the chartered accounts state that there is significant doubt that MNBC will be able to continue, why are the provincial and federal governments not conducting a forensic audit to see what has transpired? It is incumbent upon the government officials to stop the hemmorhaging cash flow now, instead of pouring more money into something that is insolvent and bleeding the coffers dry!

    I find it quite ironic that on the MNBC website, a current headline states “MNBC cooks up another success story”….. “cooks up” indeed… perhaps a Freudian slip?? There is, however, no humour to be found in the situation the Métis citizens in this province now find themselves in….

    The needs of the Métis people are not being met, students are being told that there is no money for educational support, the taxes on the Métis school remain unpaid, the loans and overdraft payments have been deferred, for yet another year, and the financial statements are reflecting this. Recent statements by the MNBC as to payments toward the debts having been made, are very questionable, to my way of thinking the amounts quoted are the penalties for having the initial payments deferred. As I am not an accountant, and as the MNBC does not report fully in their recently released financial statements, it is difficult to ascertain exactly what is what. I do know, however, that the MNBC is not been forthright in their reporting, and the Métis people who were promised regular financial reporting, improved communication, transparency and honesty are being given short shrift.

    In the most recent release from MNBC the Board has made a motion to reduce their salaries…..however, this will not begin until AFTER the AGM…and, as there has been no detailed reporting for the MNBC Board expenses, one must wonder if the loss of salary is to be made up in expense payments (travel paid at 52.5 cents/km for using your own vehicle, rather than flying and the daily meal allowance (currently $69.05/day, to be raised to $70.25 Oct. 1, 2011) plus the incidental rate of $17.30/day. One can easily see that the ability to supplement the “reduction in salary” is easily attainable.

    The above are all things that Métis citizens should be bringing to their community leaders to have clarified at the upcoming Annual General Meeting in Abbotsford, September 23, 24 and 25th. Better still, take Mr. Dumont up on his offer, call him directly at the Métis School and seek answers to your questions!

    If you are not satisfied with the representation you are receiving from your MNBC Chartered Community, or have not been satisfied with the answers to your questions, the BC Métis Federation welcomes you to call or email, you will be glad you did!

    Proud to be Métis with a change for the future!

    Tansi…

    April McLean-Collart
    Director
    BC Métis Federation

  3. Keith Henry September 13, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    Thank you Richard and April,

    First Richard I always find it amusing when people ask if you are planning to run when someone stands up against these situations. You are correct in your statement, why anyone would is beyond me as the debt will become your personal liability in the future.

    Second April you also raise an excellent point. Where else is MNBC board members charging board expenses. The MNBC 2010-2011 Financial Statements show MNBC spent approximately $965,000.00 in travel charged to general administration and prorgram budgets. That is a great way to subsidize. It is also unclear about what the line item in several of the projects (Schedules 6-68) entitled “Project” has covered.

    I would not kick a grizzly in the behind but I know of 11 MNBC board members, consultants, and management that should be ashamed and resign.

    The mess gets worse and worse.

    PS Did you know some of MNBC finance staff has resigned and the current CFO is reported to leave by December? Interesting…

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