The following is an open letter from the BCMF to all Métis people in British Columbia…
Dear Métis Communities and People throughout BC;
The BC Métis Federation will continue our efforts and commitment to ensure all Métis leadership and people throughout BC have timely and fact based information. This commitment by the BC Métis Federation is not an easy task and one that has come at great personal sacrifice and expense. This has been supported by many Métis people who realize today that the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) has misled and continue to mislead Métis people at every turn and deceived you for the past three years. We believe Métis people deserve to hear both sides of an issue and can judge how they measure this situation, that is what open governance is about as BC Métis Federation ensures that our Métis Nation is healthy one day again.
I open with this commentary in light of a recent email circulated this week by Daniel Pitman who is one of the Métis Chartered Community leaders from the South Okanagan Similkameen Métis Association in Penticton given the event unfolding with the sale of the property at 30691 Simpson Road in Abbotsford announced this week by MNBC. Daniel represents his constituents in Penticton and is one of roughly 35 of the Métis Chartered Communities in the Thompson/Okanagan region. Here is the contents of dan’s recent email:
Email from Penticton Métis Community President Daniel Pitman Sent This Week
CONNECT-COOPERATE-COLLABORATE CHANGE: To make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone: to change one’s name; to change one’s opinion; to change the course of history; to change so we can learn from what we have experienced and make the adjustments necessary to improve.
The three things in life we inevitably experience are birth, death and change. We as citizens of Métis Nation BC have experienced a great number of changes notably since the 2008 AGM. Some may view for better some may view for worse depending on individual and public opinion. With change sometimes comes failure and sometimes success. However, without experiencing an attempt to change for the intent of better outcomes we would never know what could have been realized without effort. While some judge by the accomplishments that are made some judge by the intentions and effort that was put into attempting to accomplish. We are coming into the remaining months of the present elected board. What legacies will the new board have to build upon and how do we want to influence the new board for our future sustainability. We still have business to conduct and growth to experience. We have unfinished business; the Legislative Act and the Interpretation Act Committee struck in Resolution at the 2010 AGM needs to convene before the MNGA. The yet to be presented recommendations of this committee might have significant implications that could result in future drafted resolutions. We need strong economic development to support education programs and services to our Métis Children and Families. We need to support Natural Resources and the Central Registry to prove our historic footprint within BC to improve our Rights. We need to build on promoting our Métis Culture. We need to support our Youth, Women and Veterans to build infrastructure. We need to support our Senate to do the work they need to do in order for our Nation to act with integrity. Most of all we need diplomatic, democratic and directive leadership to unify our Métis Nation BC. John F. Kennedy in his inaugural speech of 1961 said: And so, my fellow Americans ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. So more than ever we Citizens of the Métis Nation BC need to come together before and at the MNGA to decide what we can do together to support our nation and Métis people of BC. Remember the saying like a “Phoenix rising from the ashes”.
We too shall rise and renew. In conclusion, before the emails start flying I do recognize that there are those Métis of the Métis Nation BC that from within are attempting to actively fight for change and there are those outside of the Métis Nation BC that have chosen to fight for change apart from us. There are others that want us to fail and keep us divided lets prove them wrong. We are stronger united than divided.
Proud to be Métis.
Mr. Pitman has been a strong advocate for the MNBC and has been a major player this last year to support MNBC leaders and staff at all costs. I draw the following examples by way of background:
1. The former CCMC worked for 6 months to assist MNBC with a Blueprint Document and MNBC Debt Recovery Plan that made over 40 recommendations to implement to ensure the sustainability of the MNBC. The CCMC representatives spent hundreds of hours traveling throughout BC to hear what grassroots Métis people really felt about the situation at the MNBC and focused on 6 issues; the improper purchase of the Métis School, Métis Catering Company, role of MNBC legal counsel, etc. The CCMC strategy was to bring forward a logical plan for MNBC leaders and the rest of the Métis Nation Governing Assembly Members to approve last February. Daniel stood up at this Assembly in his role as a member with a theatric performance about how he supported a Debt Recovery Plan that was allegedly designed by MNBC consultants he barely knew. He was a strong voice against the practical and responsible approach CCMC called for on behalf of thousands of Métis people who provided input into the CCMC designed recommendations. Instead at that time Mr. Pitman emphatically stated that he trusted these people no matter what any other recommendations called for. Today that MNBC led plan is not worth the paper it is written on. The MNBC designed Debt Recovery Plan is inaccurate and the people Mr. Pitman said he trusted no matter what are no longer with MNBC.
2. In May 2011 Mr. Pitman put forward another theatric performance at a Métis Child and Family Service Forum hosted in Richmond. Mr. Pitman was suddenly invited as a guest speaker encouraged by friends at the MNBC. He once again rose to the podium, recited a definition from Webster’s dictionary and gave the impression that somehow he is the new spokesperson for the MNBC.
3. In August the BC Métis Federation forced MNBC President Bruce Dumont to release their 2010-2011 financial statements because of a visit from a Global TV news reporter. These new MNBC financial statements were incredible with and BC Métis Federation understood quite clearly why MNBC leaders did not want to release those new financial statements. Once again MNBC realized a significant increase in new debt and for the first time MNBC’s auditors stated publicly that they were not sure if MNBC could carry on business. True to form Mr. Pitman released his version of a “rescue the MNBC statement” on August 31st to protect the MNBC as follows:
a. Email from Dan Pitman, August 31, 2011
Tawnshi kiya mataen, recently my wife and I stopped by the school unannounced. We quietly went in seeking out people. We stopped in and spoke with Laurel, Tracey and Cora and shared mutual greetings. My wife was interested in the catering kitchen as she is a former owner of several restaurants. … I have explained to my wife the strife of building a nation with the internal issues that prevent us from moving forward in unity as Metis people since the AGM of 2009 in Penticton. I have spoken to you about “Character” at the MNGA in 2011. I remain committed to the objectives of our Metis Nation of British Columbia and remain confident that as a nation we must take risk is order to build capacity. Citizens spoke in past years of the debt of MNBC and fear of defaulting on numerous liabilities or projecting insolvency and this year those same fear instilling individuals are continuing to use the debt as a vehicle for structuring a new Metis British Columbia government. I ask you as individuals, have you ever risked being in debt in an attempt to secure your own financial stability i.e. a home mortgage. In the winter of 2008 I found myself scared due to my investment portfolio lessening as the markets turned south. …The reason is “faith”, I believe that my investments will recover and create financial stability for my wife and I. I believe the risk of going into mortgage debt will create more stability for us and also crate retirement opportunities to spend on. A debt recovery plan was approved at the 2011 MNGA and it has been initiated and I believe we will in future rise out of debt and create financial stability for all Metis Citizens of British Columbia. At the 2010 AGM an attempt to implement a coup was unsuccessful and on the last day their spokesperson stated “I have no intentions of wanting to bring this nation down” and yet what is that individual attempting to promote? We are heading into another AGM, we are still in debt, there remain individuals attempting to bring our nation down. We have as Metis people always faced adversity but in doing so our conviction to act with integrity, courage and confidence has and must always continue. In 2012 those same disgruntled Metis people (not all are MNBC citizens any more) will no longer have arrows to shoot at their identified targets, who will they then point to once the current executive vacate their positions? My final thought for you is the word “BULLY”- a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. There is just one exception to the definition! I for one am not smaller, weaker or will be intimidated by someone that should take a long look at their own “character”. Pishshapmishko and Meena kawapimitin Daniel Pitman proud Metis British Columbia Citizen
The issue today that BC Métis Federation hopes Métis community leaders and people will see is these deliberate attempts by MNBC board members and their devout followers, such as Mr. Pitman, who continue to mislead you. BC Métis Federation has evolved out of necessity for the future. We have been accurate in our predictions about the financial bankruptcy of the MNBC, every single one. The Métis people will not fall because a non-profit organization such as the MNBC goes bankrupt. We simply need to accept change as Mr. Pitman defines once again from the Webster’s dictionary in this latest email.
The corporation MNBC is defunct, it is unable to assist our people and MNBC created this, no one else. The leadership at MNBC, along with people like Mr. Pitman, fought against transparency and accountability at all costs to their reputations and integrity. Read Mr. Pitman’s email of August 31st carefully. None of his “faith” statements are accurate any further. Every single item is gone he wrote as believing in are gone only three months later because of the MNBC’s inability to manage; no more lentil soup, sudden sale of the building (Métis School), and the catering staff he identified have all been let go? A logical and responsible leader would hold MNBC leaders accountable. On the contrary his recent email makes a clear effort to deflect.
BC Métis Federation knows it is time to send a clear message to governments. Métis communities can by signing our Statement of Cooperation and individuals joining the BC Métis Federation as members. BC Métis Federation has six communities who have joined. We are negotiating with five others and we feel that once we have 18 the BC Métis Federation can provide governments enough evidence that the majority of Métis people want a new Provincial representative.
Carefully weigh your options community leaders and individuals, what are you really supporting when you blindly listen to rhetoric? People like Mr. Pitman are not accountants and not provided a shred of accounting evidence to support blind faith any further. MNBC is truly defunct and they are not transparent about the financial pressure today. We believe the Royal Bank has essentially taken control of the MNBC accounts and the sale of the property will not salvage the massive debt. The question is how are the programs and services protected?
It is time for change Mr. Pitman, which includes the necessity to rebuild the Nation with the BC Métis Federation. Years of paying bad debt will not assist our people.
British Columbia Métis Federation
Suite 300-3665 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC, V5R 5W2
BCMF Board of Directors