The following letter was sent today by the BC Métis Federation to MNBC Executive Director Dale Drown…
Please accept this correspondence as further follow up to the letter I sent to your attention dated July 19th regarding the September 15th, 2012 Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) General Election and another item I would like to seek your response that I believe puts you in a major conflict of interest.
First it appears MNBC staff has confirmed this week that only 21 votes were cast in the illegal Métis Nation Governing Assembly (MNGA) voting procedure conducted by you dated July 12th. On July 12th you submitted two MNGA resolutions for voting on only 4 days notice. I have presented you questions about the manner in which you conducted this improper MNGA voting procedure on July 19th. Unfortunately you have not yet responded. I assume MNBC will not post any of the MNGA voting election results despite being illegally conducted by MNBC. More serious is the fact that 21 votes does not even meet a necessary simple majority of the identified MNGA members, which I believe totals 44. This presents a substantive legal challenge for the MNBC in relation to the General Election and decisions required.
The MNBC Electoral Act requires information to be posted by 50 days prior to the September 15th MNBC General Election. The question is how can MNBC now post such information as per the MNBC governance 50 days in advance, which is tomorrow, without a properly appointed Chief Electoral Officer approved by MNGA members? Specifically as per Article 8.1 of the MNBC Electoral Act the Chief Electoral Officer is to:
“The Chief Electoral Officer shall 50 days before the date of the election, post in the offices of each Métis Community notice of the election and the applicable rules surrounding the election and the preparation of the List of Electors:
a. The place and hours fixed for the nomination of Candidates and the date fixed for closing nominations;
b. The nomination papers required to be filed with the Chief Electoral Officer; and
c. The address, email and phone number of the Chief Electoral Officer.”
The question is how MNBC can justify any Chief Electoral Officer appointment given the lack of any proper MNGA endorsed process? In turn how can any Chief Electoral Officer meet this timeline, not to mention the other electoral requirements MNBC continues to ignore despite clear MNBC governance processes that have been in force for years. Therefore it appears MNBC, and your role in particular, has led to the latest exhibit of gross MNBC mismanagement and a complete dismissal of the approved MNBC governance processes. Many Métis people assume MNBC will ignore their governance and established laws to taint the September 15th General Election. This is fundamentally wrong and the lack of any respect for the procedures is startling.
Second BC Métis Federation continues to research and identify other internal MNBC issues that question your role as the MNBC Executive Director and a serious conflict of interest. The MNBC was established to address the Métis people’s right to self government and was an expression of that right. Although many Métis people today are moving on from MNBC I find it completely unprofessional that you have been contracted to work as a Federal Government negotiator to support Nunavut devolution while you are employed at MNBC. As the MNBC Executive Director you are one of the lead people to negotiate agreements and positions that could clearly put you at odds with the Federal and Provincial Governments. How do you justify this contract? Is MNBC paying you full time while you are also working on this contract?
I have attached a press release for your review where Federal Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister John Duncan has appointed you as their negotiator as of May 18th, 2012. This is clearly a position of clear conflict and divided loyalties. The question is why has this not been made public until now? Did the MNBC board know? Was this a deal by the Federal Minister to keep funding flowing to the MNBC in exchange for this support? What procedure did the MNBC board follow to review this serious matter?
I find your actions lack good judgment and transparency to the Métis people you are to serve throughout BC as one of the lead technicians for the MNBC. I am a proud Métis person and perhaps you do not take Métis self government and pushing policies to recognize Métis rights serious. This raises your recent actions and motivations given your actions to ignore the MNBC self governing processes that have been established. Ironically you have been contracted to work by the Federal Government to assist Nunavut devolution for their self government, while ignoring Métis processes. This seems absurd.
MNBC board and staff actions continue to publicly humiliate Métis people throughout BC by such actions. There are other internal issues in the MNBC that also further raise serious questions. Allegedly other MNBC staff members such as Colleen Hodgson and Chris Gall are also providing additional contracting services while being paid as full time staff of MNBC and put them in positions of conflict. We believe these allegations are serious and should be thoroughly reviewed and publicly reported on the findings in the future. However, given the actions by you as the Executive Director, one would assume MNBC staff is not following any existing conflict of interest policies.
In closing these two issues require clear responses by someone at MNBC. Who is accountable for such glaring dysfunction? Métis people continue to question every process the MNBC board and management are taking without legitimate authority or respect for internal MNBC governance. The MNBC General Election has been set up for failure and as I have repeatedly stated these MNBC actions will taint any future leadership candidates and question their ability to claim any legitimate mandate as a provincial Métis governing representative. Moreover despite repeated statements I heard over the years, I am sure Mr. Bruce Dumont will somehow reconsider running as the MNBC President to “save the day”.
This entire MNBC process appears to have been orchestrated for some reason given such outright improper actions. I question why?
I know many people will not vote in the upcoming MNBC elections and are walking away from MNBC until MNBC is completely transparent the future is very dim for your organization.
I look forward to your response.
BC Métis Federation
#300-3665 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC, V5R 5W2
You can follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis
- Peter Cunningham, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
- Honourable Mary Polak, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
- Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
- Honourable Scott Fraser, Critic for Aboriginal Relations
- Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Federal Liberal Aboriginal Affairs Critic
- Honourable Jean Crowder, NDP Aboriginal Affairs Critic
- BC Métis Federation Board Members
- BC Métis Federation Members