(Vancouver, BC) The single largest issue that caused a major split within the Métis Nation was the improper purchase of the school property located at 30691 Simpson Road in Abbotsford, BC by the Métis Provincial Council of British Columbia (referred to as the MNBC). This property was purchased by the MNBC board, led by President Bruce Dumont, in June of 2009. At this time the MNBC board approved the borrowing of $3 million dollars without any special resolution passed by their members at an Annual General Meeting of their society or any consultation to see if the Métis people they represented supported this initiative.
Since June of 2009 the MNBC board has repeatedly told Métis people the purchase was justified because the Federal Government was going to give approximately $3.4 million in stimulus funding. This never came. Then the tune changed and by February of 2011 MNBC President Dumont stated he met with Prime Minister Harper and miraculously the Prime Minister approved stimulus funding of $1.45 million during their Métis Nation Governing Assembly to the delegates. Today we know this remains an untrue statement.
After years of public deception the MNBC finds itself millions in debt, was forced to take a second mortgage of $1.6 million in January 2012 against the value of the property and this latest decision by the City of Abbotsford council has far reaching financial impacts. MNBC leaders and staff have been suggesting false confidence and that the sale was a matter of fact and would be completed by mid summer 2012. It is now the end of summer 2012 and there has been no reporting or updated information from MNBC.
Instead the BC Mètis Federation has been monitoring this situation carefully as it has major financial implications on the financial sustainability of the MNBC. Today MNBC is described as functionally bankrupt and the only buyer for this property had a condition on the offer that required the property to be rezoned. The City has now turned down a rezoning application this week, specifically citing the reason that the buyer wanted to have children use the property as an education facility. The City of Abbotsford has zoned this area as industrial and as such will not allow a school to be run with children for safety reasons.
BC Métis Federation President Henry stated, “The MNBC has yet to be accountable about this entire mess to the greater Métis public. This property purchase was a disaster and will be the financial demise of the MNBC.”
BC Mètis Federation President Henry added, “We predicted this years ago and today it is simply a matter of poor financial planning and no business acumen within the MNBC that created their mess. Worse yet MNBC is pretending to carry on like its business as usual. Well it is not and why is there no public statement from the MNBC to advise their members about this major development? What are the consequences of this decision? MNBC has yet to fully disclose the additional losses incurred during their last fiscal year ending March 31st, 2012 but we understand it is in the range of another million last year alone.”
BC Mètis Federation President Henry concluded, “This lack of MNBC’s true transparency again and again has led to the failure of MNBC. For example, the MNBC General Election unfolding today has already failed to even find 25 Métis people to support MNBC elected positions any further. There are entire regions that do not have one candidate. Furthermore MNBC’s own chartered communities are deciding not to hold polling stations because they too deem this MNBC election as illegal. It is this consistent and ongoing lack of transparency that created this mess. MNBC’s Executive Director Dale Drown reported in their MNBC Spring Newsletter that at the sale was going according to plan. Well Mr. Drown it certainly does not appear so and I cannot believe anyone would support such gross and incompetent management or a functionally bankrupt organization another day. Where is Bruce Dumont who led the charge with this purchase, has defended the purchase, and now hopes he can squeeze through an election while the MNBC financial mess gets worse.”
For more information about the BC Mètis Federation please review our website www.bcmetis.com.
BC Métis Federation
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
You can follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis