BCMF Response to Legal Counsel Mr. Joe Gereluk for MPCBC President

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Métis Community Leaders
Métis People of BC
Re: MNBC Legal Counsel Joe Gereluk Letter

Attention Métis leaders and Métis people of British Columbia;

I am formally responding to an interesting response from Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) legal counsel Joe Gereluk. One of the six issues a number of us Métis people have questioned for years has been the role of the MNBC legal counsel and Mr. Gereluk’s letter is exactly the epitome of this concerns. As such I want to clarify a few points in order to allow the Métis public and our supporters to make their informed decisions about what they believe or not in light of this letter.

Mr. Gereluk suggests it is not the policy to respond to “fringe” groups so perhaps he can point people to this stated policy? The BC Métis Federation is certainly no fringe group and our growing membership, support, and industry engagement speaks for itself. Moreover the MNBC continues to claim they speak for all Métis people in BC, despite no legitimate mandate, and I am a Métis person. Therefore the actual policy is MNBC does not respond in any way to anyone they do not want to, regardless if the questions are fair or have merit to the programs and services they are publicly accountable for.

What I can assure all Métis people is that the legal opinion by Bull Housser and Tupper LLP was provided based on her experience and response to my six questions. I provided minimal insight as the purpose was to request a truly independent legal opinion for our BC Métis Federation.

Mr. Gereluk cannot suggest his opinions or letter are objective as he is not independent counsel for Métis people at large. Mr. Gereluk is on record as stating he is only counsel for the 11 directors of the MNBC. I would think that if Mr. Gereluk wanted to fairly respond he would have answered the same six questions that I posed to Bull Houser and Tupper LLP and backed his opinion or response by case law. His correspondence speaks to political conjecture and its intent is clearly political give the personal attacking and subjective comments.

The fact Mr. Gereluk suggests there MNBC has never been known as the MPCBC is absolutely a false and I describe as a lie. I have attached a copy of the MPCBC letter dated May 26th, 2012 where this board themselves identified themselves as the MPCBC. This was only last month so therefore did Mr. Gereluk not review his clients own admissions last month? This alone discredits his entire 3 page diatribe.

Mr. Gereluk’s legal spin about the constitution and registry have no basis in terms of the consistency with the corporate bylaws and as an officer of the court and MNBC’s legal counsel, Mr. Gereluk should have ensured consistency throughout the MNBC documents. How much has Mr. Gereluk been paid over the years to provide legal advice and if he was truly addressing the MNBC corporate needs one must question why there is such confusion? This is the responsibility of the board, staff and legal counsel of the MNBC.

Mr. Gereluk’s consistent loaded language about belittling the name of the MNBC does not belittle the Nation. The people are the Nation and MNBC is a dysfunctional nonprofit board best described as incompetent directors and staff proven after years of increasing debt that has done more than enough to shame this organization all on its own.

Mr. Gereluk is 100% wrong to suggest I had anything to do with the development of the Constitution. The MPCBC developed the MNBC Constitution during 2002-2003 with consultant Dave Kennedy, former MPCBC President Harley Desjarlais, and himself. I am not sure who else assisted or supported this work. The MNBC constitution was ratified in September 2003 and I was in attendance at the MPCBC AGM in Nelson only a month after I started working for the MPCBC.

Mr. Gereluk also needs to be corrected about my former employment with MNBC. I was proud to work hard for this organization between August 2003 – September 2008. I resigned on September 16th and the MNBC board accepted my resignation. I have attached both of the letters to prove Mr. Gereluk’s statements in his letter that I was dismissed with cause as incorrect.

Mr. Gereluk and this MNBC board have been using this same nonsense rhetoric for years as some excuse about why I call the MNBC incompetence to task. Mr. Gereluk and the MNBC board needs to realize that I am a proud Métis person and will always stand up and fight for my community when there is such injustice by any organization, Métis or not. Mr. Gereluk writes his letters under the guise of being an officer of the court but clearly his letters are politically motivated and not based on facts. He is not Mètis and I take great issue with the payments he benefits from using government money to send such letters.

The fact Mr. Gereluk suggests MNBC is not facing bankruptcy is not backed by facts in any manner. Once more the MPCBC auditors wrote specific language in the last MPCBC audit to confirm in fact that this organization has significant doubt about the council’s ability to continue as a going concern. This is written clearly on page 2 of the MPCBC financial statements April 1st, 2010 – March 31st, 2011.

What Mr. Gereluk appears to be doing is creating a smoke screen to divert attention while providing absolutely no facts to support his reckless statements. MPCBC was not in good standing and I am sure he was scrambling to complete MPCBC corporate filing after the Bull Housser and Tupper LLP independent opinion was published. His intentions are very political and he should leave his personal statements and political debates to MPCBC board members.

In closing, I am the proud President of the BC Mètis Federation who was not self appointed but rather registered and our board members are the founding members of this new organization. The BC Métis Federation has every intention of rebuilding a proper Métis representative organization for Métis people in BC to have a democratic choice and to participate in future BC Métis Federation elections. This is not an unusual process of any new organization and I will do my best to continue building the organization to ensure Métis culture and community needs are supported as a priority. Our recent efforts to arrange and hold regional meetings throughout BC confirms our intent.

I actually thank Mr. Gereluk for this latest letter as it continues to showcase the absolute nonsense approach this MPCBC board has exercised. Métis people continue to terminate their MNBC cards and the future MNBC election will likely have very few voters turn out and perhaps even less interested in running.

In the future MPCBC would do better to invest time and energy in answering the issues rather than personal attacks. We have sent numerous previous responses so perhaps Mr. Gereluk can look into when we can expect a response?

As I always state ultimately the choice is yours.

Thank you,

Keith Henry
President, British Columbia Métis Federation
Suite 300-3665 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC
V5R 5W2

cc BCMF Board of Directors, BCMF Members, Métis People of BC, MLAs, MPs (British Columbia), Margaret H. Mason, Bull, Housser and Tupper LLP

Download Mr. Henry’s full letter of response in PDF format. Download the full letter from Joe Gereluk in PDF format. Download Mr. Henry’s full letter of resignation from the MNBC in PDF format. Download the full letter from MNBC in response to Mr. Henry’s resignation in PDF format. Download the full memo from MNBC in support of Enbridge in PDF format.

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