(Campbell River, BC) The North Island Métis Nation (NIMN) is one of the thirty six (36) identified Métis Chartered Communities signed with Métis Nation British Columbia in British Columbia. NIMN has worked for their Métis members for several years and is located in Campbell River, the northern area of Vancouver Island. NIMN has a strong membership and their President Shirley Smith has questioned MNBC leadership given the events that unfolded the last two years.
This past weekend the NIMN officially become the third of the thirty six Métis Chartered Communities to inform MNBC that they will not attend the upcoming MNBC Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled for September 23rd – 26th in Abbotsford. Shirley Smith, duly elected President of NIMN sent this email on Saturday, September 10th, 2011 to MNBC President Bruce Dumont:
The North Island Métis Association would like to inform MNBC and all locals that the North Island Métis Assn will not have a voting member attending the 2011 MNBC AGM. NIMA has e-mailed Lissa and Tracey @ MNBC to inform them that we will not have a voting member attending. NIMA has not given the authority to anyone to act on our behalf. Further more, NIMA has not given any person the authority to appoint anyone to vote on our behalf.
North Island Métis Assn
The MNBC has demonstrated their contempt for Chartered Community autonomy and decision making and MNBC President Dumont held true to these misguided values by responding shortly thereafter by email on September 10th as follows:
Hello Shirley as a past member and President of NIMA and being in contact with certain members there is no motion to this decision by NIMA Membership and you speaking on behalf of all the membership. NIMA Citizens are more than welcome to attend. All Métis Citizens from MNBC Chartered Communities are welcome to the AGM. They will have a voice.
It is very evident in MNBC President Bruce Dumont’s response to NIMN President Shirley Smith that the rights and privileges of the NIMN as outlined in their Community Charter are worthless. It would appear that Mr. Dumont as MNBC President once again sees himself as a supreme commander who can, at will, override the democratic wishes of any board from one of their chartered communities and impose his own will.
President Dumont’s arbitrary overriding of NIMN and its elected officers and their democratic decisions is another example of how he sees his role at MNBC, that of a one man rule that controls all financial, cultural, and day to day decisions of every Métis person in British Columbia, irrespective of any contrary or opposing points of view.
BCMF President Keith Henry commented; “Another glaring example of how Bruce sees himself as the ultimate authority. Clearly Shirley is the President of NIMN and her board has made a decision. It is not up to Bruce as President of the MNBC to ignore this major decision. Quesnel, Vancouver, and now Campbell River have all informed MNBC that they will not send a representative to the upcoming MNBC AGM September 23rd – 25th. The BCMF board 100% supports this boycott of the MNBC AGM. What will really change, Métis delegates will hear once MNBC board leadership speak about how great the MNBC is. MNBC leaders will be sure to pay for special delegates who they know support them despite the current crisis and MNBC will not answer direct questions nor be transparent about the true state of affairs. Do some of these other Métis Chartered Communities really believe they can change this current leadership at MNBC given the recent inaccurate MNBC debt report for the first quarter released Monday?”
BCMF President Keith Henry continued; “It is shocking and totally unacceptable that the federal and provincial governments continue to provide approximately $11,000,000 annually in taxpayer funding to allow MNBC President Bruce Dumont to financially and politically bully and intimidate Métis people and their chartered communities. Mr. Dumont’s email is a dismissal tactic to subvert local Chartered Community democracy and decision making. What Bruce is really saying to Shirley is that he will be sure to identify other NIMN delegates and likely pay their way to attend regardless of what that community board has decided. This coming from a leader and board at the MNBC who, in stark contrast, never consulted with Métis people about purchasing a school before this major decision in June 2009, never sought input into the development of a proper MNBC debt recovery plan, removed fellow board members with any discussion with the constituents who elected them, and on and on.”
BCMF President Henry further added; “Many times I have been asked why don’t the Métis people themselves stand up and protest louder in BC regarding MNBC? Bruce’s response to NIMN is exactly why. Métis people have been threatened time and time again by MNBC. MNBC has used government funding pay for a variety of legal letters that threaten Métis people when they stand up. MNBC is arrogant and intolerant and the message from MNBC President Dumont to NIMN is clear, he running the show and don’t you dare get in his way. MNBC is losing their grip of control for certain.”
BCMF President Henry concluded; “BCMF is calling on Métis people to boycott this MNBC AGM. After our last two years of efforts it is clear MNBC leaders will never change. They have one year left on their term and this is just wasted energy. MNBC’s latest documents continue to showcase incompetence and misinformation. Meanwhile MNBC uses government resources to move around in their financial shell game that will hurt the people who need programs. I know other communities are seriously considering not attending and I hope Métis people will send a strong message with government watching. That message being we did not create this financial mess, if governments want to support MNBC then you bail them out and work with this club of a few hundred friends. That is all MNBC has become.”
BC Métis Federation
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