The following letter was sent to the MNBC Board of Directors this morning…
Dear MNBC Board Members;
I write to the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) board today in light of the upcoming Métis Nation Governing Assembly (MNGA) scheduled for this weekend and the ongoing lack of MNBC public accountability. This letter is submitted as another one of over 120 correspondences to the MNBC board without any answers to BC Métis Federation public inquires. Many of the Métis people watch in continued disbelief as the MNBC board continues to carry on dysfunctional governance that has a major impact on the Métis people of BC.
It is this lack of public accountability that best describes the principles of what the MNBC has become and I will outline a two key issues to assist MNBC board members.
Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines
MNBC has yet to deny if MNBC has signed the equity deal with the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines project. Moreover MNBC representatives continue to frustrate First Nations, provide inaccurate testimony at the Joint Review Panel, and contradict messages surrounding an MNBC decision making process through their own testimony.
On January 12 MNBC representative Mr. Gary Ducommun reported to the Joint Review Panel in historal presentation (Attachment #1) that MNBC would be making a decision at the MNGA in March. The BC Métis Federation continues to request MNBC clarification on this matter given the significance of a decision and the growing opposition by Métis people in BC. BC Métis Federation has also requested clarification about why MNBC is co-presenting an Enbridge economic opportunities forum only days after the MNGA in Grand Prairie?
Today we have learned through the media that MNBC reported they invited Enbridge representatives to make a two hour presentation during the upcoming MNGA. Furthermore MNBC allegedly stated there may be another MNGA held in May 2012 to decide the Enbridge project. What exactly is going on as it appears MNBC representatives are making up responses about any decision making process as they go?
The draft agenda for the MNGA is now on the MNBC website, there is no agenda item for Enbridge. In addition, there is no resolution to support the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines project. Is MNBC going to adjust the MNGA agenda at the meeting to minimize any preparation by Métis leaders who might take issue with this project?
What is most interesting in Mr. Ducommun’s oral testimony is that he suggests MNBC will inform MNGA members of the results of a traditional use study to guide this decision? This seems absurd as the methodology of such a study should involve significant Métis community input and participation, not just a few representatives or consultants to offer their “expert” opinion. I have attached a draft Traditional Land Use (TLU) outline in the hopes that some of the MNBC board or Métis community leaders who read this correspondence will better understand the importance of any such methodology or a strong study to protect the Métis people MNBC represents. You will note the significant participation required by the community (or in this case I would argue the five Métis Chartered Communities that MNBC has self identified with Enbridge) and approval by the community prior to final approval of any such report. Do we assume MNBC has simply put together a study without real community engagement or support? Do we further assume by Mr. Ducommun’s comments that MNBC feels it only needs to inform the MNGA members after the fact? If so does the MNBC board not understand the major impacts to Aboriginal people these poorly defined actions and process results in? If there is a Traditional Land Use study has MNBC already provided a copy to Enbridge?
I also want to reiterate the BC Métis Federation’s strong caution regarding the damage MNBC continues to do in terms of First Nation relationships as a result of the oral hearings and public perception about the position of MNBC. There continues to be growing concern from several First Nations who are opposing the project in the territory while MNBC is perceived to be allowing Métis people to be used as pawns for Enbridge and the federal government. The First Nation concern centers on the issue of how MNBC as a provincial non-profit organization can exert Aboriginal rights overlapping First Nation territories with outstanding claims? This concern grows each day and the absence of any clarification by MNBC is increasing tension and suspicion that will impact all Métis people.
Finally Mr. Ducommun continues to describe Métis history in BC inaccurately during the Joint Review Panel process. For example in attachment #1 paragraph 5377 Mr. Ducommun suggests that Peter Skeena Ogden was a Métis patriarch. This is completely false as Mr. Peter Skeena Ogden was born in Quebec and was not Métis at all. He married a Métis woman and the children were Métis.
The BC Métis Federation continues to complete Métis community input and discussion and there is overwhelming opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines project so we question the MNBC methodology, governance, and legitimacy of any decision or signed equity deal without prior and informed consent by Métis people. MNBC refuses to answer whether MNBC has already signed the Enbridge equity deal and the actions continue to point to complete disarray and dysfunction. BC Métis Federation will be providing a thorough report of the recent Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines project online poll and we are confident that the results are accurate and point to overwhelming opposition.
I have attached a revised document produced by the BC Métis Federation that outlines the ongoing financial challenges of the MNBC. What is the long term sustainability with less than six months in the MNBC terms of office? MNBC is millions in debt, scrambling to sell the school, and an election is Here is a few messages we anticipate from MNBC board members:
- Do not worry we have a potential buyer for the school, we just cannot tell you right now…
- We know we did not report on the MNBC debt recovery plan like we committed last year, it was all the fault of the former staff who are no longer with MNBC. Do worry as we are on it now…
- I have spoken with the Prime Minister’s office and stimulus funding is on its way, this time for sure…
- The youth project funding was delayed because …
- We need to pass the resolutions to remove rivals because they are tearing the Nation apart, they are terrorists…
- Meet-so Catering did not really fail; there were just no customers…
- The school is making $300,000.00 this year, don’t worry…
The shame in all of this is the lack of MNBC board personal accountability and efforts to rebuild the nation. Not once has the MNBC board agreed to meet with anyone who has opposing views, including the BC Métis Federation board members who have always welcomed an opportunity to meet board to board in the interests of Métis people.
There will be no saving grace and MNBC should be forced into bankruptcy to enable the Métis people to rebuild. Look at the MNBC principles to use controversial projects such as Enbridge to try and survive their financial demise? MNBC is millions in debt and Enbridge could enable short terms solutions that is the real motivation here. In fact how much did Enbridge contribute for this MNGA or to the MNBC in 2011-2012?
The definition of principles can easily be located in any dictionary for the MNBC board to review. There are many more items of concern but I urge each of you to resign without delay. The Métis people and community needs are more important than MNBC defences or personal attacks against me or any other Métis person in BC. It is time to put the needs of Métis people first and stop the MNBC mismanagement and improper governance as a major embarrassment for all Métis people.
BCMF Board of Directors
Métis People of BC
MPs (British Columbia)