Open Letter to Métis People

The following is an open letter sent by the BCMF to the Métis People of British Columbia…

Métis People of British Columbia,

I am writing this letter addressed to all Métis people of British Columbia in light of the most recent developments regarding the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC).

Many of you have followed and witnessed the challenges between the MNBC and the British Columbia Métis Federation (BCMF) over the course of the last number of months. During this time MNBC leaders and management have made every effort to personalize the situation and deflect from the real issues of MNBC financial accountability and transparency.

Therefore as President of the BCMF I believe the MNBC board and management’s self serving efforts do not provide an accurate picture as Métis consider the situation. As such I hope Métis people will review the following list that provides a few comparisons showcasing the glaring difference between the MNBC and the BCMF.

This list of items is drawn from commitments made by MNBC representatives plus the recently released MNBC 2010-2011 Financial Statements;

Communications

MNBC

Minimal communications (based on the last six months)

  • One MNBC organizational update – June under the new brand Presidential Reflections since February 2011.
  • Approximately 10 press releases (many of which were press releases drafted by the Métis National Council).
  • Broken promises. For example, MNBC assured MNGA members last February that MNBC would provide monthly updates to track their progress on their MNBC debt recovery. Only one report has been made in 6 months (April 2011).
  • Intimidation – MNBC has sent letters to VMCS and NOVA (two of the approximate 36 Métis Chartered Communities) to demand their respective leaders to resign.

BCMF

  • Significant Communications (based on the last 4 months)
  • BCMF was launched in May 2011 and has provided an organizational update for June and July. August to be out shortly.
  • BCMF has presented 47 communications (press releases and letters) made available to the public.
  • BCMF provides a weekly online website show entitled “Coffee Talk”. The last 9 shows are all available to review on the website.
  • BCMF has attended the Métis Matters Radio Show on a regular basis.
  • BCMF provides a regular email update on a weekly basis.
  • BCMF signed a Statement of Cooperation with Métis communities in Kelly Lake and Saanich.

Financial Management

MNBC

  • MNBC spent an estimated $350,000.00 on board expenses in the past 6 months which is composed of wages, travel, phones, and other costs.
  • MNBC has continued to utilize MNBC legal counsel services to fight Métis people in court through two cases; Total costs for MNBC in 2010-2011 under the line item “Consulting and Legal” are in excess of $635,000 (approximate).
  • MNBC has provided the 2010-2011 Financial Statements for their secretariat only after BCMF and Global News showed up at their office August 30th.
  • However MNBC has yet to provide audited financial statements for 2010-2011 for
    • Métis School
    • MEET SO Catering
  • MNBC has yet to pay property taxes owed at 30691 Simpson Road and was not transparent with the communities or Métis people who made inquiries about the status of these payments in August 2011.
  • MNBC continues to delay program payments for youth project, employment and training support, etc. As of March 31st, 2011 MNBC deferred over $750,000 in program funds that could have been used for Métis students requesting much needed financial assistance.
  • The total organizational debt of $2.3 million has been realized as of March 31st, 2011 along with damaging statements about under note 13 of their 2010-2011 auditor’s MNBC Financial Statements.
  • No governance or operating infrastructure investments for the Métis communities.
  • MNBC has outstanding payables as of March 31st, 2011 over $2.4 million.

BCMF

  • Volunteer board:
    • The board and supporters have donated all travel, time, and personal finances to support Nation work to date.
    • BCMF members have contributed an estimated $30,000 of personal finances between May and August 2011 to educate the grass roots community about why BCMF formed and vision for the future.
  • BCMF finances have been utilized to open the head office, support community cultural events, and ensure timely and effective communications through a weekly online show, website maintenance, etc.
  • The BCMF designed MNBC Debt Recovery Action Plan Year One would have saved the following if implemented for April 1st, 2011 as recommended by the former CCMC;
    • MNBC board expenses at least $300,000 in the last five months.
    • $30,000 would have been paid to reduce the MNBC Debt in this time frame
    • Métis communities would have been provided $87,500 in 5 months based on $500.00 per month to support community operational costs and cultural infrastructure
    • $14,700/month would have been paid as per the original property mortgages that was to being June 2011.
    • Legal and consulting fees would have been reduced from an average of $290,000 to $10,000 in 5 months.
    • Plus many other necessary and measurable results in terms of actual debt recovery that could have been measured with concrete figures each month.

Cultural Support

MNBC

  • No MNBC led cultural event initiatives this summer.
  • It is believed that some of the MNBC board members received expense support to attend Batoche Days in July plus a few other Métis events in BC.
    • Example, it is believed that MNBC representatives were paid expenses to travel to Fort St. James in August to participate in a Métis Day celebration.

BCMF

  • BCMF invested approximately $12,000.00 of personal contributions and donations to support the Métis Trading Post and Artisan Exhibit in Vancouver. The first ever in the history of BC with full support of the host First Nations.
  • BCMF representatives attended and supported several other cultural events in Williams Lake, Quesnel, Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Fort St. James, and others in July and August.

The three categories and comparisons regarding Communications, Financial Management, and Cultural Support are but a few glaring examples of significant differences between the BCMF and MNBC. The latest developments to force MNBC to provide their 2010-2011 Financial Statements offers another example of deliberate MNBC attempts to keep financial information from the Métis people of BC. The 2010-2011 MNBC Financial Statements were completed July 28th and although requested several times, MNBC leaders did not make public until forced to do so. When the news reporter from Global tried to interview MNBC President Dumont the financial statements suddenly appeared and were handed over and posted on the MNBC website a short time later.

MNBC leaders continue to refuse to resign, refuse to take responsibility for the MNBC financial crisis, and refuse to make tough business decisions in light of their current challenges. BCMF presented a detailed debt recovery plan with many recommendations and an administrative financial projection for the first year last February 2011. Imagine where MNBC would be today had MNBC leadership accepted the support offered?

I encourage Métis people to question the motivation behind what MNBC board members, management and any of their supporters are saying the next time you are subject to their responses or excuses about the MNBC financial challenges. Métis communities, such as the North Cariboo Métis Association in Quesnel and the Vancouver Métis Cultural Society, are refusing to participate any further until MNBC board members and their management answers important questions regarding the operations of MNBC and the school. The people you elected to ensure the MNBC moved forward have failed and the 2010-2011 should be a MAJOR warning to all of the Métis people. BCMF is completing a thorough review of the financials and will be reviewing next steps carefully.

It time for action and to sign up as a BCMF member with the proper values for our Nation that being community, family and our culture the first priorities.

Thank you

Keith Henry

President

British Columbia Métis Federation

Downloads:

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