MNBC Leadership Principles – Enbridge and Sustainability

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.

MNBC Sustainability

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.

Thank you,

Keith Henry


BCMF Board of Directors
BCMF Members
Métis People of BC
MPs (British Columbia)


Click here to download this letter in PDF format.
Click here to download the BCMF assessment of the MNBC in PDF.
Click here to download Mr. Gary Ducommun- Oral Presentation for Métis Nation of BC.
Click here to download the Traditional Land Use Methodology Document.

10 Responses to MNBC Leadership Principles – Enbridge and Sustainability

  1. BC Metis March 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    I have been reading all the Joint Review panel presentation hearings in which Gary Ducommun has done presentations. This one I missed. Who is doing this historical research, on behalf of MNBC at the Joint review panel…?

    John Work was born in Taughboyne parish, St Johnstown in County Donegal, Ireland born around 1792. Before citing names even Wikipedia tells of his history. He married a Josette Legace, a mixed-blood woman from the Spokane tribe in 1826

    I also agree as with Peter Skene Ogden Ogden was a son of Chief Justice Isaac Ogden of Quebec and his wife Sarah Hanson. The north west company shipped this guy West into Oregon because of his violent temper and according to HBC Officer James Bird, ‘The Indian was “butchered in a most cruel manner” The North West Company transferred Ogden to the Columbia River to protect him from arrest for the murder. There he served at numerous North West Company posts. He also married a Spokane Indian woman, Julia Rivet, having left his first wife, a Cree Indian woman, behind in Saskatchewan.

    To Claim this gent is Metis patriarch is ludicrous, from reading his history he abandoned Metis wives, killed a First Nation and after the HBC/Norwest company merger he was sent to BC to create a “FUR DESERT”, so that Oregon now Vancouver not fall into the hands of Americans and was ordered to ignore all conservation efforts.

    Even more entertaining in history as Peter Fidler is a well known Metis, “In 1810 while a clerk for the North West Company, Peter Skene Ogden and a friend climbed over a stockade wall at a rival Hudson’s Bay Company post and strutted around the yard with guns, intimidating the occupants. Two weeks later the men returned and physically harassed the post’s supervisor, Peter Fidler. Ogden and his friend were on the front lines of the North West Company’s competition with the Hudson’s Bay Company for territory and Indian trading partners, and they saw the harassment as an enjoyable way to advance their company’s interests. Fidler and his men responded to the harassment by abandoning their post within a year. Ogden and his men burned it.

    Now that these items have been pointed out, I have been taking the name references as well researched. Good Job on the research. Someone is going to have to send him how to use wikipedia..LOL


  2. Old Guard Watching March 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    Hello Keith,

    I would like to share a thought and have a question. I understand you have worked for Enbridge in the past, so you would have insight into how they may treat Metis people, in terms of work opportunities, if the Metis do not support the pipeline. All things considered they do hire and support aboriginal peoples. That being said I wonder if this may change somewhat given the current view taken by most aboriginal communities. We don’t have to look far to see the inferior economic standing in a lot of aboriginal communities – and Metis households. My question is this – are Metis people shooting themselves in the foot for work in the future with Enbridge and or other oil companies. Good paying jobs for most aboriginals are hard to get these days.

    For the record I do not support the pipeline, but is there a sensible compromise?

    Thank you for your time.

    Old Guard Watching

  3. Robin Stevens March 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    In response to what the MNBC are proposing I would recommend that a massive “Press Release” in BC be furnished to all newspapers stating the facts, that MNBC Board Members are entertaining Embridge Officials at their MNGA, fraudulently claiming to represent the majority of metis in BC when in fact they represent less than 10% and have not even consulted with the 10% MNBC community members for input.

    The MNBC board members cannot and do not have the authority to neither act, speak nor make decisions on behalf of the metis peoples of BC. Even if the MNBC member metis were consulted! What was the overwhelming response? Do they have any idea at all, or like suggested by Keith another cash grab by MNBC board members to bail themselves out of the mess they are responsible for in the first place, my Grandfather may he rest in peace always told us “when you find yourselves in a deep hole, STOP DIGGING!”
    MNBC for the sake of metis people please “stop digging”,

    The MNBC community Presidents, Vice Presidents, representing MNBC members must speak up, if you agree or disagree with what MNBC is doing let your communities know that, SPEAK UP you ran for office to make a difference, if you agree or disagree with what these so called “elected board members” are doing, bypassing all the rules and governances so painstakingly establish by their peers and enforced on you but not followed by them, then the MNBC truly must collapse. And shame on you.

    Robin Stevens “NO LONGER AN MNBC MEMBER”

  4. Richard Lucier-larson March 7, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    Old Guard who owe me a coffee;
    Your “is there a sensible compromise ?”

    So far the only one I see is cleaning up after a spill, sort of like the Exxon Valdez, I would imagine that would go on for years, and probably the task of sprinkling spices on the sea food to cover the taste of oil, the last could be shared around by the 33.000 out of work fishers, clam diggers, resort workers and anyone else making their living from the sea.

    I wouldn’t want to be the person telling the Metis and first Nations in the north, that they have jobs for life cleaning up oil.

    So far there have been question like yours but usually from people who don’t see very far ahead, It’s what do we wish to leave for our grandchildren?

    Yes I know you are not supportive of End Bridge pipeline, so I suggest you join us in the north when the real protests start, just remember I do like good coffee, black S.V.P.

    Richard Lucier-larson

  5. Sherry March 7, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    MNBC Board of Directors, WHO DEEMED YOU GOD?

    It`s amazing that every First Nation and Metis Citizen has deemed you the great leader

    to speak on their behalf. I also have to thank you for bringing this nation back a century.

    When we lost our rights and land for a BAG OF BEADS and a NEW ONE HUNDRED

    DOLLAR BILL. It`s very discouraging to be lead to disillusion.

    I`m thankfull that we have movies and the net, so our Great Grandchildren will know what

    water and green grass was at one time, and that fish do come out of water.

    But please don`t fret, your pockets will have crisp ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR BILLS, and your

    nation will starving for fresh water and real food.

    Let me thank you for our future

  6. Joe March 7, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    ThE Peter Ogen issue is not just trivia. Its a good example of how MNBC has exploited Metis history and traditional knowledge to serve their political agenda. They invent and distort historical “facts” to try and pass themselves off as credible and in doing so cheapen and distort and reduce Metis historical memory. They use knowledge as a tool only to keep power at all costs. Neither their unilateral actions nor the enbridge project is “inevitable”. They try and control the surface language but they actually damage relationships among Metis and with first nations people and the real stories that need to be told. This is changing in that people see through this kind of interest group ideological spin. The long term damage and denial of Metis rights is the only inevitability with mnbc.

    • BC Metis – E.B March 7, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

      Funny thing Joe, there are historians present at many of these hearings, and these statements are recorded in Federal and Provincial documents for anyone to reference into the future. Making these statements without research does not make our Nation very credible. Witness’s are under oath when they testify at these hearings, I trusted research is apart of his testimony, but I fear not. As Ducommun runs around the province trying to prove we have a historical foothold in British Columbia, using a distorted version of history, he may be able to fool the non-educated in historical facts but his testimony is worthless in the academic world. His examples of Ogden, a brutal non-Metis are just as bad as glorifying the SS Beaver, while in reality it had a hand in the coastal decimation of Native populations. Those passionate to save the Great Bear Rainforest, Ducommun is citing examples of history that had no point except for decimating animals to extinction (Ogden), protecting British Sovereignty(SS Beaver), and assist in disease transportation to local aboriginal populations(SS Beaver)?. I am still in shock this distorted history was presented, to prove why our Nation should be entitled to be counted as a rights bearing nation. I fear the MNBC theatre is not over yet, there are several more hearings scheduled in the coming months.


  7. Metis Xitizwn March 8, 2012 at 6:37 am #

    That’s an opportunity for Enbridge and opponents of the project to cross-examine expert witnesses, under oath. Do you not think that Enbridge has their expert witnesses examining Ducommun’s statements? Where is our expert, is it not Ducommun he’s a fisheries biologist. He might know the inside and outs of a fish, by these examples not Metis history on the west coast.

    In one statement Ducomman states he represents Metis harvesting card holders which testimony should of been from those very card holders and how their traditional way of life will be affected by the Enbrige pipeline. As they have not provided this opportunity anywhere in BC, this dog and pony show is simply as it is, a smoke and mirrors while they are poised to have a big meeting in Alberta as to economic benefit.

    I also see no advertisement on the MNBC website as to this Northern Gateway MNC/MNA/MNBC joint meeting, the MNBC MNGA agenda was revised on March 7th 2012. While ducommun as exclaiming that a decision will be made at the MNGA there is no item on the agenda. Communities have no idea what is to be asked of them when they get to the Metis Nation Assembly only days away. Was their funds give to communities affected to hold consultation meetings, I doubt it.

  8. Keith Henry March 8, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    Good morning Old Guard,

    Good to hear from you and have you post.

    I did complete a contract with Enrbidge as I stated previously in 2011. I was working only with First Nations in central BC as I made it clear to Enbridge I wanted nothing to do with the Metis consultation if it was with MNBC for reasons that were obvious. I did not interfere in these discussions although it frankly made me so frustrated to watch the foolishness. MNBC tried to have me removed from this project on several ocassions. Ironically Mr Dumont spoke to a person only last week and stated Enbridge fired me and that is why I am outspoken as the leader of the BC Metis Federation today against the project. This is sad, not true, and clearly another desparate attempt by an individual trying to justify his poor leadership. I was pleased to allow my contract to run out and move on from Enbridge. I was asked to stop the work with BC Metis Federation against the MNBC as this was putting me in conflct indirectly. I decided I could not do this and moved on respectfully. I did not raise a positon against the Enbridge project until the BC Metis Federation board and membership began to be outraged by the role of MNBC and their deep concern. Today I have my own opinions but I am speaking in the interests of the members and increasing Metis people who are calling on the BC Metis Federation to take action.

    In terms of the views you express I would caution you to think this way. The fact is the long term jobs for BC will only be about 560, so how many of these do you really believe will ever go to Metis, considering the challenges Enbridge faces and will have to try and build relationships? Furthermore consider that the construction will take place in spreads throughout Alberta and BC and these are all SUBCONTRACTED. Therefore Enbridge does not hire barely anyone and anytime. They will have large subcontractors do all of the work and any potential construction work will be very short term as the technology allows these spreads (like moving armies) to construction about 2 kms per day. As such it does not take that long to build the line.

    I do not recommend any compromise be made. The First Nations are vowing to fight this to the highest courts, supported not by several environmental groups and municipal governments. This alone will results in YEARS of delays, if ever. The project has been pushed back a year already with the JRP process due to the # of intervenors. It is clear this government will try to legislate this through as soon as they can but they will face court injunction after court injunction. This could take 10 years alone for Enbridge and the Federal govermment to resolve, if ever. Then Enbridge and their contracted construction companies will face protest and physical confrontations. Why would MNBC or any Metis people allowed to be used to assert Metis rights over these people?

    I will end with this. Over 91% of the survey respondents conducted by the BC Metis Federation do not want this project. Many of the directly impacted Metis communities do not want this project; so why should we fight each other and First Nations to support this project which is what MNBC is doing? As the BC Metis Federation President that is now my job, to ensure Enbridge and Governments know the vast majority of Metis people are speaking against this project.

    I will never compromise what Metis people want. This thinking by other Metis leaders at the MNBC and some communities in BC who do not know what their people want has created enough bad examples of terrible governance.

    The truth is if, and I say a BIG if, this project goes forward, Enbridge will want to hire a few Metis anyways.

    Thanks Old Guard and all, keep your thoughts coming…

  9. Richard Lucier-larson March 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Old Guard watching :
    I would say Keith has given a very fair appraisal of what is and what will happen,
    His : “Then Enbridge and their contracted construction companies will face protest and physical confrontations.”
    Yup !! and will you join me on the line ? I will even put aside a new Surtout Liberté Flag for you, Just remember the coffee.

    Richard Lucier-larson

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