MNBC Confirms Support for Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project

MNBC Officially supports EnbridgeAttention Métis leaders and Métis people of British Columbia;

The BC Métis Federation writes to express our extreme disappointment in further actions by the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) this past weekend. On Saturday, May 26th President Bruce Dumont sent out an Executive Memo with the heading “MPCBC Accepts Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Aboriginal Ownership Agreement.”

This does not come as a surprise to the BC Métis Federation who has been assuming the MNBC had already been agreeing with Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project representatives. The latest correspondence from MNBC raises the following issues:

1. Under what authority does MNBC (or referred to as the MPCBC now in their letter) do they have to accept an ownership position on this project? They are a political organization and have no land base.
2. How did MNBC leaders ensure a decision making process for Métis people in BC or the community leaders MNBC represents considering the magnitude of this decision?
3. Why did MNBC provide verbal evidence that a decision would be forthcoming during hearings on this project by their Métis leaders in May 2012? Did this happen? If not why not?
4. How did MNBC ensure environmental issues were resolved for Métis people in BC in light of the recent letter by their own British Columbia Métis Assembly of Natural Resources (BCMANR) who deemed MNBC actions by President Bruce Dumont as illegal according to the MNBC Natural Resources Act and Consultation Guidelines?

There is much more in terms of the MNBC decision making process. MNBC represents their own Métis citizens and some of the Métis communities in BC, as described as Métis Chartered Communities. The BC Métis Federation urged Métis leaders to not attend the recent meeting with MNBC and Enbridge representatives May 10th and 11th because we were confident that MNBC and Enbridge would use to justify a form of further consultation and alleged support. This latest MNBC Executive Memo does exactly that although Métis leaders were not asked to vote on any resolution to support this project or not. This is one of the most undemocratic decisions ever forced on the Métis people in the history of BC.

The BC Métis Federation knows after extensive consultation that the large majority of Métis people in BC do not support the proposed Enbridge project, despite any alleged benefits which MNBC continues to describe as millions of dollars, jobs, contract opportunities, etc. According to the BC Métis Federation online survey in March 2012 and over 12 community forums between March and May 2012, there is no doubt the large majority of Métis people in BC do not support this project.

Given the growing opposition and issues facing MNBC, one must consider why MNBC would force this decision that contravenes their own laws and governance processes. MNBC is millions in debt, these leaders are leaving in a few months, and they have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in “consultation” funding but have nothing to show for to demonstrate what MNBC did over the years to provide information about this project to Métis people.

BC Métis Federation is aware Enbridge set a deadline for Aboriginal communities to sign the proposed equity deal for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Aboriginal Ownership Agreement by the end of May. Ironically MNBC comes out with this letter of support and agreement only days before the end of May. MNBC does not explain why they should be the beneficiaries of any equity deal over communities and families who are impacted, as one might consider for any project now or in the future? How much will MNBC be provided in exchange for project support for this equity deal? It has been reported that other Aboriginal equity positions will provide about $300,000.00/year in income so what was MNBC’s intent for this money? This latest correspondence raises so many more questions.

The reality of this situation is MNBC misled their people about their intent of their recent May meeting, they have put their needs as an eleven member board first and foremost on all matters, this being the latest. The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project is years away from any of the proposed benefits, if ever unfolding. BC Métis Federation (with support of Kelly Lake Métis Settlement Society, North Saanich Michif Society, Nova Métis Heritage Association, Fort St. John Métis Society, Vancouver Métis Cultural Society, and Métis Veterans Association of BC), Cowichan Valley Métis Nation (Duncan), BCMANR, North Cariboo Métis Association (Quesnel), Cariboo Chilcotin Métis Association (Williams Lake), plus so many other Métis communities have spoke out against the Enbridge project. It has also been reported that the President from the North West BC Métis Association (NWBCMA) in Terrace resigned, largely due to the request by MNBC to not proceed with a community vote on the Enbridge project due to concerns and awareness that the Métis people in Terrace would like vote against the project.

The BC Métis Federation passed a resolution against the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project in April 2012 for three specific reasons:

1. There has not been proper consultation for Métis people in BC to make an informed decision.
2. Respect for First Nations and their territory who have opposed this project by the large majority.
3. The proposed benefits are not worth the environmental risk.
One of the most difficult challenges could be the negative impacts with relationships between First Nations and Métis people due to the significance of this decision. The MNBC decision confirms MNBC will be in direct conflict with First Nation communities and leaders with territories who exercise their legal jurisdiction. One must question what right any provincial non land based Aboriginal organization like the MNBC has to make this decision on lands that are not theirs? The BC Métis Federation believes Métis leaders must respect the territories of First Nations when facing decisions that could affect their lands.

The MNBC decision was made without proper consultation or even respecting the processes within the MNBC structures (outlined in their Natural Resources Act or Consultation Guidelines). MNBC citizenship card holders need to examine their options carefully now. MNBC citizenship card holders could send a letter to MNBC board members expressing your displeasure, terminating your cards, etc. Furthermore MNBC has other obligations to their Métis Chartered Communities that the BC Métis Federation believes have not been met in this situation, as well as many others. Therefore it may important for MNBC Métis Chartered Communities to consider terminating their charter agreements in light of such ongoing MNBC decision making that appears to defy common sense and logic.

The BC Métis Federation has submitted information to the Joint Review Panel regarding the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project and will continue to seek an opportunity to be an intervenor and present further proof of the lack of proper Métis consultation in BC. Additional and important steps by the BC Métis Federation and all Métis communities can bring the alleged support of Métis people for this Enbridge project, as indicated by MNBC, into further question. Therefore I also urge other Métis community boards to pass resolutions against this MNBC decision and the Enbridge project asap in light of this development.
In closing the MNBC decision this weekend will further divide our people and clearly the eleven MNBC board members will never put the needs of our Métis people before their own. This MNBC board has continued to display mismanagement of epic proportions and this decision is just another bad example. The MNBC board members need to be all taken to task without further delay:

1. Bruce Dumont, President
2. Dave Hodgson, Vice President
3. Lissa Smith, Vancouver Island
4. Ted Ingram, Lower Mainland
5. Daniel Pitman, Thomson Okanagan
6. Terry Anonson, Kootenay
7. Annette Maurice, North Central
8. Kim Hodgson, North West
9. Dan Pope, North East
10. Stephanie Albiston, Youth
11. Donna Wright, Women

BC Métis Federation will be holding a special conference call shortly to determine next steps. Please watch for future updates and this MNBC decision.
Time for the rest of the Métis people in BC to serious consider what you want for your future.
Thank you,
Keith Henry

cc BCMF Board of Directors
BCMF Members
Métis People of BC
MPs (British Columbia)
Yinka Dene Alliance
Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs
First Nation Summit
Great Bear Initiative

Download this Letter in PDF format
MNBC Memo to Presidents May 26th Support for Enbridge
Bruce Dumont Email May 18th 2012

5 Responses to MNBC Confirms Support for Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project

  1. Robin Stevens May 28, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    In light of the recent press release by the MNBC publicly declaring they represent the Métis peoples of British Columbia which is completely slanderous. I for one would be receptive to joining in a class action litigation movement holding the 11 board members and the entity MNBC liable for their actions. Can we not move on this, or for the very least seek a legal opinion as to what our rights are as self identifying Métis people residing in British Columbia being impacted by the misconduct and misrepresentation of the MNBC.

    This misrepresentation will net the MNBC coffers more than $300,000 a year, which we know will be abused by the board members to further degradation any form of governance which were meant to protect the rights of the Métis people in British Columbia.

    These are questions I hope will get asked, do we have any right whatsoever.

    Robin Stevens, proud self identifying Métis and member of BC MF.

  2. Joe Desjarlais May 28, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    (Here is an early release of my article contribution to this next months newsletter, considering current events)

    Reclaiming the Commons – by Joe Desjarlais

    A Metis organization called the MNBC came out recently and admitted their intention to work with the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project. If we care to look beneath the surface arguments, their decision exposes a rift that resonates down to the core of our liberal foundations in this country and our shared future as Canadians.

    MNBC leaders stage crafted events, actions and words to appear that they have a history of consulting with Metis people, but the facts over time prove the opposite. These Metis elites along with their mainstream corporate and political allies who have supported them have not been neutral and impartial, because the Enbridge deal only serves the empowered class. It exploits the profound relationship between indigenous people and place. The Enbridge project is about complicity with the corporate state at the expense of a fair society, a condition that impacts every Canadian citizen.

    Add in the reality of the Canadian experience, where we have a complex, historic Metis society struggling to co-exist with First Nations and Canadian society and to work out what it means to share this place. A contributing predicament is that Metis people in Canada have no liberal institutional capacity to pursue the common good of Metis communities, and to foster a language describing meaningful relationships with First Nations and other citizens. Public opinion is supposed to be formed through citizen’s debate and dialogue. Instead, Metis voices have been muzzled by unethical elites on every level, who coerce people into a very certain kind of life.

    Critical thinking by Metis is ignored, or summarily dismissed as the rant of extreme radicals. This ideology has often been reinforced for all indigenous people by mainstream pundits all the way up to Federal politicians. Co-opted Metis ‘leaders’ have been spinning this false populism against concerned Metis citizens for years. Judging by flashpoints like the Enbridge project, mainstream elites see their relationship with Canada’s indigenous people in terms of ‘loyal or antiloyal’. These old nationalist refrains have simply been refurbished by Metis elites against Metis people.

    Lately, we don’t hear as much of the old nationalist spin by MNBC politicians that the BCMF are “tearing down the (Metis) nation”, because the truth is at their door with their organization in shambles. Their mythic narrative that we have ‘full Metis self government’ is in tatters. Their “official” website and banal news items are diversions that disconnect people from any sense of truth and justice. They pretend to be service delivery managers, but they lack the most basic managerial skills. Worse, they are bankrupt for sustainable ideas to inform policy. The consequences of their words and actions has contributed to financial mismanagement of public dollars, destruction of programs, no rule of law, ethnic unrest, cultural genocide, and continued economic and social disparities with mainstream British Columbians.

    How can one explain the curious silence of Canada’s mainstream liberal establishment amidst the Metis carnage in British Columbia? As American Pulitzer prize winner Chris Hedges has argued in general, liberal institutions such as educational institutions, religious and cultural institutions, the media, unions, NGO’s and other groups that are the traditional disseminators of truth and justice have themselves bought into false ideas of impartiality to mask their complicity with corporate power. This co-opted liberal establishment, in my view, denies their ethical responsibility to Metis people by casting us as passive recipients of their ideologies and structures. Historic Metis culture, ways of life and values have been ignored or distorted into many different images.

    The liberal class by their complicity has placed Metis people into Canadian history as noble or ignoble savages. In British Columbia history as example, Metis people have been portrayed as sidekicks to European settlers, or inevitable victims of contests for control in Western Canada. Louis Riel and others have been portrayed by BC media as crass opportunists, men with motives to destroy Canada. More recently, Metis have been recast by the liberal establishment within a mediocre bureaucratic language of managers and structures. The histories that Canadians employ are contingent and empowered.

    With the development of the BCMF, we are saying that Metis people will contribute to the future of this country. In order to accomplish these goals, Metis people must develop and control their own liberal institutions, as well as influence mainstream liberal institutions. In addition, we assert that for the good of this country, Canadians and their governments must reclaim a vital liberal establishment in order to create the shared language needed to reconcile with indigenous people in a dignified manner.

    The MNBC does not understand the consequences of its nearsighted decision to support the Enbridge project, for its own people or others. What kind of future do we want for our country? How have indigenous ways of life been exploited by corporations as well as by corporatism? What is the value of Metis people reclaiming the commons, both in their communities and beyond? Will Metis share their indigenous values along with First Nations and others in a democratic public conversation? How will these ideas shape policy and structures? These questions will increasingly shape contemporary reconciliation discourses between indigenous people and Canada in years to come.

  3. Earl Belcourt June 1, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    Joe Desjarlais, you have summed up not only the MNBC but the MNC as well. Thank you for writing what you have written because those have been my thoughts since 1992. I just could not put it into words because I was already considered a bad actor, a sour grape loser in the past elections and to some a story teller of assaults. I believe that your words will hit home since mine didn’t.

  4. Richard Lucier-larson June 1, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    Tansi All;
    I know that Dr.Howard Adams must be rolling in his grave.

    For those not familiar with the Metis activist and Author ” Dr Howard Adams’ read his book “Prison of Grass” still available in any Regional B.C library.

    Being as I have in the past had lunch with Dr.Adams and had interesting discussions of Metis Politics of the 1980s to 1990 s, we agreed on most things Metis accept he was a Marxist. I am not.

    I agree with Earl Belcourt on his review of Joe,s posting.

    Isn’t it time to break the cycle of Metis leaders abusing the grassroots and get on with rebuilding the Metis Nation as a Nation instead of an Old Boys Club.

    Richard Lucier-larson
    A proud member of the B.C. Metis Federation


  1. Who are ‘The Enbridge 18?’ A call to crowdsource Northern Gateway’s Aboriginal partners « mediaINDIGENA - June 7, 2012

    […] least in British Columbia: the BC Métis Federation shared its “extreme disappointment” back in April and more recently over the decision by Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) to sign an equity deal […]

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