BCMF has sent the following letter to the Provincial Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and all Provincial MLAs in light of statements in the Provincial Government letter of September 8th. The Provincial Minister appeared to suggest government officials were closely monitoring the MNBC deficit progress. We strongly disagree given the evidence and the BCMF review of the MNBC 2010-2011 Financial Statements.
Dear Minister Polak,
I am writing to provide your office new financial information regarding the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) in light of a statement in your recent letter (ref 28083 sent September 8th).
BCMF continues to educate Métis people and governments about issues of concern in British Columbia. The focus has ben on two key issues; recognized representation and the mismanagement of funds for Métis people and communities being administered by the MNBC.
During the last few years Métis people in BC and government offices have been presented information from the MNBC to deflect and mislead about the real issues of financial mismanagement and organizational insolvency of the MNBC. Clearly this is the case considering the statement you made in your recent correspondence:
As stated in our meeting, I am concerned about the financial situation of the MNBC. Ministry staff are continuing to monitor MNBC’s efforts to eliminate their annual deficit in the current fiscal year and begin to reduce the accumulated debt in future years, if not in the current fiscal year.
Given the results of the recent MNBC Deficit Recovery Plan First Quarter Report April 1st – June 30th, 2011, it is confusing if government staff (either Federal or Provincial) are truly monitoring the MNBC deficit situation in any meaningful manner. For example, I have attached and submit to your attention a copy of a Property Tax Certificate dated September 21st, 2011 from the City of Abbotsford for the Métis Skills and Employment Center located at 30691 Simpson Road. This is another telling example of the MNBC financial mismanagement. This certificate provides concrete evidence that MNBC has yet to pay their property taxes despite repeated calls by Métis people for the MNBC to pay the taxes. MNBC leaders have continually stated publicly that the taxes will be paid and in fact have suggested some form of a payment structure would be made on a monthly basis. According to the certificate MNBC has yet to pay a single dime as of September 21st, 2011 for property taxes since they purchased the facility in 2009. MNBC was just assessed another penalty of roughly $6000.00 because they did not pay their property taxes as of September 15th. The total penalties will now cost MNBC $11,526.14 and interest on late payments of $4774.41. The total outstanding property taxes are now $241,996.44.
Métis people question whether government officials accept the information from MNBC without completing proper due diligence in light of this undeniable evidence. The recent MNBC Deficit Recovery Plan First Quarter Report is incorrect, inaccurate, and outright deceptive. There is no reference to this outstanding property tax anywhere listed in the MNBC report. Furthermore MNBC states the Métis Skills and Employment Center realized a profit in the first quarter of approximately $69,000.00. Do governments really believe this is possible when MNBC owes taxes in the building of over $241,996.44?
Another glaring misleading statement is the continued perpetuation of the value of the school. MNBC continues to state information about the purchase price and the recently appraised value. However, MNBC does not clarify that the MNBC owes a substantive demand loan, additional line of credit, and outstanding taxes as proven herein. These figures contribute to the overall deficit and negative working capital as of March 31st, 2011 of approximately $5.8 million.
BCMF continues to call on governments to thoroughly review this situation. MNBC has continued deficit spending in 2011-2012 and there are further indicators that MNBC financial information being provided is misleading and inaccurate and should be viewed as having no credibility in light of these examples. It is clear MNBC will hope to announce some stimulus funding from the Federal Government, just as they did last February that has yet to materialize, at their upcoming MNBC Annual General Meeting. However, given the overall MNBC financial situation this will not be enough to address the imminent MNBC financial crisis.
BCMF welcomes future opportunities to discuss any questions. We believe this new evidence should motivate governments to more thoroughly review information from the MNBC to better understand the seriousness of the financial situation and the potential negative impacts on programs and services administered by MNBC.
British Columbia Métis Federation
Suite 300-3665 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
BCMF Board of Directors
Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Government of Canada
Members of the Legislative Assembly
Mary Lou Kenney, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Government of Canada
Rod Cunningham, Service Canada
Arlene Paton, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation