The following letter was sent to the MNBC Board of Directors earlier today…
Dear MNBC Board Members;
I write today in our continued efforts to call on your conscience as MNBC board members to address numerous questions sent to better understand the true realities of the MNBC financial crisis and other issues we have identified in writing to each of you.
Over the course of the last few years a number of Métis people raised six key issues to MNBC. One such adhoc committee of your own MNBC citizenship card holders was established as the former Coalition of Concerned Métis Citizens (CCMC) and these concerns focused on 6 issues:
1. MNBC Governance
a. MNBC Administration Operational Plan
3. Catering Company
4. Role of legal counsel
5. Cultural Awareness
6. Election Process
The current MNBC board has yet to answer the former CCMC correspondences and to this date Métis people throughout BC remain confused, frustrated and deceived.
We know that the CCMC has now evolved into the BC Métis Federation last June and years later nothing has changed. Point and case, the BC Métis Federation attended a community gathering in Gibsons yesterday. There were new Métis people who attended and were not clear on the current situation facing Métis people in BC. BC Métis Federation provided our perspective and the level of concerns and interest was quite evident. The impression that MNBC board members spend about $700,000 per year hit home very hard for a few in attendance. There were concerns expressed about the overall amount being spent by the MNBC board, the fact the MNBC board contributed to a substantial deficit the last three years, and the lack of communication or explanation by the MNBC board about the situation to justify why? Some of these grass roots Métis people who have a hard time supporting their children to attend post secondary education remain at a loss for words considering how the Lower Mainland region lost about $180,000 for employment and training funding in 2010-2011 from the previous year because of the MNBC financial mismanagement.
I have reattached a copy of the MNBC board expenses from 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. This MNBC board has yet to publicly disclose the about amount spent on themselves for 2010-2011 but we assume it is still approximately $700,000 and the amount for 2011-2012 will still remain substantial as MNBC was forced to reduce costs only as of January 1st, 2012, 10 months of a 12 moth fiscal year.
The grass roots Métis people in attendance did not understand how this MNBC board justifies overspending on themselves year after year? The grassroots Métis people did not understand how another MNBC second mortgage could be secured while youth and employment and training program payments remain outstanding as payables? The grass roots Métis people felt frustrated and disappointed that governments have yet to take real action to not allow any penny of Métis program funding to be “deferred” because of the cash flow challenges at the MNBC.
This is a message BC Métis Federation is hearing across the province. What is more apparent is that you as the MNBC board are going to ignore repeated requests for information although MNBC is a publicly funding organization. Therefore point me to one place in the MNBC Constitution or Legislation or the MNBC board policies that states you will not be accountable? It is incredible there are those Métis people in your organization that actually believe MNBC does not have to respond and I question where does this come from? Do you not realize any other elected official in Canada does? I have corresponded with the Prime Minister’s office and I can state that his office actually responds within a reasonable time frame. Therefore this thinking by anyone clearly shows me that the MNBC board does not understand Métis self governance or any form of democratic government. This has been the most damaging thinking to true Métis self governance and is the reason why so many other Métis organizations in Canada cannot move a Métis agenda forward.
Sadly what BC Métis Federation forecasts is continued silence from MNBC for the following reasons:
1. The current MNBC board is completed their term by September 2012.
2. The next Métis Nation Governing Assembly (MNGA) members will be told, if not already, not to worry as MNBC explain at the MNGA being held March 8th – 10th in Abbotsford.
3. MNGA members will be provided inaccurate MNBC financial information at the MNGA because the MNBC board will not have the audited financial statements ready for April 1st, 2011-March 31st, 2012.
4. MNGA members will be provided all sorts of ambiguous information and will set the date for the MNBC General Election in accordance with the MNBC Election Act.
a. The MNBC General Election must occur no later than September 13th, 2012 (end of the four year term)
b. The MNBC Election Act identifies a campaign election period where MNBC board members must not use MNBC resources.
c. Therefore the current MNBC board will essentially complete their board services at the end of July, approximately 6 months from now.
5. The new MNBC board, should people decide to run and many of this current board have already stated they will not seek re-election, will inherit the continue MNBC financial crisis by the time a new MNBC board is elected and the audited financial statements are released.
The current MNBC situation is not feasible both politically and financially. The lack of MNBC board accountability throughout BC impacts more than just your political well being. MNBC continues to mislead industry and government about who you represent, continues to negative impact the delivery of programs for Métis people, etc. and we will continue our efforts to ensure Métis programs and services for those most in need survive.
The actions of the MNBC board continue to be wrong and we will not stop until proper Métis governance in BC is restored; governance that takes responsibility, is open and honest, and puts culture and community before their own needs.
BCMF Board of Directors
Métis People of BC
MPs (British Columbia)