The following letter was sent from the BCMF to the MNBC Board of Directors earlier today…
Dear MNBC Board Members;
Over the course of the last few years, and especially the previous 12 months, Métis people in British Columbia have witnessed an unprecedented amount of infighting, deception and lack of public transparency from each of you as an elected board of the MNBC. There are Métis people who blame the BC Métis Federation for our tough stance on our six identified issues related to the MNBC, such as the financial sustainability of the school, while others have lost all trust and confidence in the MNBC.
What is clear to many Métis people throughout BC is that you as the elected MNBC board have not been forthright or transparent about the true financial situation within the MNBC. What is more disappointing is that many of you are well known and were previously respected by constituents who believed that you would do the right thing no matter what. Frankly that is what defines true leaders from poor leaders; the ability to stand up and do what is right no matter how tough or unpopular, even if it is against fellow MNBC board members.
Therefore I write to each of you on behalf of the BC Métis Federation to call on a sense of leadership within the MNBC board. It is time for you as individuals to provide absolute transparency about the seriousness of the MNBC financial crisis. Where is the MNBC Debt Recovery Plan reporting (specifically the second quarter report for 2011-2012), how much more money did MNBC lose as a result of closing Meet-So Catering, what has been the result of the resolution to consolidate MNBC loans, how much money does MNBC owe in outstanding payables? There are so many questions Métis people have and want answers to.
The BC Métis Federation remains proud of our accomplishments in such a short time since we incorporated in June 2011 after losing all faith in MNBC after the last Métis Nation Governing Assembly February 2011. Since this time the BC Métis Federation has repeatedly demonstrated our commitment and resilience to Métis communities and families. We have already supported numerous community cultural events, timely communications, membership, and proposal support that has already resulted in new community investments.
By contrast some of the continued negative MNBC highlights the last 8 months alone are:
1. Presented a MNBC Debt Recovery Plan in May that we know today is inaccurate and flawed. MNBC stated commitments made in this document have not been kept in any manner;
2. MNBC sent a press release in July attacking me personally rather than addressing the real issues and questions;
3. MNBC sent threatening letters to Nova Métis Heritage Association and Vancouver Métis Cultural Society on August 21st about MNBC Annual General Meeting delegate selection;
4. MNBC refused to release the MNBC financials until a Global TV reporter showed up at the MNBC office August 31st. The BC Métis Federation understood why after reviewing the financial statements. MNBC’s own auditors qualified the audit stating for the first time that they were unsure if the MNBC could carry on and the statements also showed MNBC realized their second largest deficit loss in the history of the organization;
5. Provided the MNBC Debt Recovery Plan First Quarter Report September 12th confirming MNBC’s overall losses at another $20,000.00 (approx.) between April and June for 2011-2012 already;
6. Held the MNBC AGM September 25th and 26th where the MNBC board assured the attending delegates all was well because of political recognition by governments;
7. Released the 2010-2011 financial statements only at the MNBC AGM related to the Métis Education and Employment Training Trust (the school). This subsidiary that was to provide profitable revenues for MNBC and the communities lost roughly $240,000 in 2010-2011. MNBC leaders and staff had made previous public claims of $300,000 surplus in that fiscal year but this new MNBC financial document proved the absolute opposite. This additional financial loss revealed MNBC was actually over $2.5 million in total debt and not the reported $2.3 million as identified in the MNBC Debt Recovery Plan public document.
8. Sent a MNBC press release October 14th boasting about a renewed sense of confidence in the MNBC. MNBC stated as part of this press release:
During the AGM, guest speaker Federal Conservative Senator Gerry St. Germain and BC Minister of Health Michael de Jong commended the MNBC for its visionary leadership in purchasing the Abbotsford School and creating the Métis Skills and Education Centre. MSEC is already hosting a number of successful training programs including Culinary Arts, Firefighting Preparation and Blade Runners. Senator St. Germain also highlighted the signing of the Métis Nation Relationship Accord in May 2006 by MNBC and the Province of British Columbia. He called it a living, breathing instrument that is supporting change and helping to improve the lives of Métis citizens across the province.
9. Sent an MNBC letter to announce the sudden closing of Meet-So Catering Services on October 19th, only five days after boasting about the renewed sense of confidence in the MNBC;
10. MNBC had to postpone a health forum being arranged in Vancouver October 22nd and 23rd due to lack of interest according to MNBC public statements. We know it is not about the lack of interest, a very large number of Métis people in the lower mainland do not support MNBC and refuse to participate and further due to the current situation.
11. MNBC announced the sudden sale of the property located in 30691 Simpson Road in Abbotsford December 12th under the tag line “…responsible decisions…”. MNBC has yet to explain this sudden turn of events given the numerous previous statements about the vision of this location as it relates to the school programming.
These are but a few of the significant items Métis people are tracking to get a better sense of how to interpret the entire situation. There appears to be Métis individuals who feel forced to make a choice between the MNBC and BC Métis Federation. We do not agree that there is a choice to be made. We also feel many Métis people feel forced because of ongoing MNBC tactics to threaten and divide regarding BC Métis Federation questions or accurate predictions. Regardless MNBC is a public funded organization and should be accountable and able to answer any questions properly. It appears all of you support this notion and perpetuate the approach that you are either with us or against us. I remind all of you that we all need to do what is best for all Métis people. It is about the future for our families and children and nothing is more important.
I ask each of you as MNBC board members to use this holiday season to seriously question what your responsibilities are as a trustee of the MNBC, the communities and people you were elected to serve. If you are being led by those within the MNBC who believe answering public inquiries and being transparent is wrong, then it is time to stand up and tell Métis people of this province the absolute truth. Do not be misguided by MNBC representatives who perpetuate personal differences as some an excuse or reason for the lack of transparency.
The facts set out in this letter provide a clear picture of the ongoing deliberate attempts by MNBC to mislead Métis people. The Nation can move forward in time but until MNBC leaders answer hard questions, are 100% transparent and accountable our Nation will collectively suffer.
In closing I urge each of you to review the attached letter sent by MNBC dated November 18th, 2009. This is one of the most glaring examples of how misinformed Métis people have been throughout this situation because of MNBC. Review the claims in comparison to what has unfolded since this MNBC letter was written over 25 months ago.
I hope each of you considers this information carefully as you reflect on 2011 carefully and consider your choices for 2012.
BC Métis Federation
BCMF Board of Directors
Métis People of BC
MPs (British Columbia)