BC Métis Federation is pleased to share the letter sent by Nova Métis Heritage Association (Nova), a Métis community organization in Surrey, BC that represents approximately 2500 members and has been in operation for years.
The Nova letter sent yesterday is a direct response to the Métis Nation BC letter, dated January 19th, making unfounded allegations against Nova as one of their Charter Communities.
The facts provided by Nova strongly demonstrate how incorrect the Métis Nation BC allegations are. It will be interesting to see how Métis Nation BC leadership responds to their misunderstandings. Will this organization continue to try to unjustly remove Nova?
Thursday, February 2nd, 2017
Re: Nova Response to Métis Nation BC (MNBC) Letter January 19th, 2017
Dear MNBC President Morin,
The Nova Métis Heritage Association (Nova) board is sending the following letter as follow up to the email of Sunday, February 26th as our formal response to the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) letter of January 19th. It is important to note that the MNBC letter was not received by Nova until January 25th and the Nova board only met this past weekend to address. We assume MNBC will understand our challenges to provide our official response within the 30 days requested.
Therefore, Nova is formally responding to address the misunderstandings that seem to have surfaced in our efforts to ensure compliance with the Charter Agreement signed between MNBC and Nova in 2005.
The Nova board seeks clarification to the points raised in the MNBC letter to ensure compliance as follows:
1. MNBC allegations that Nova board members do not have MNBC Citizenship Cards
This is incorrect and the current board has board members with MNBC citizenship cards. At this time MNBC sent this letter Nova had 6 and not 7 board members with 3 having an MNBC citizenship card:
- Ken Fisher
- Kerry Marion
- Amber Geremia
The MNBC letter suggests a few are on hold but regardless of renewal processing MNBC has maintained contact with all members, included for voting in the recent MNBC election and we assume still maintains on your central registry.
Can MNBC clarify how they formed their statement of 7 and the names?
In terms of the reference to Section 2.6 of the Nova and MNBC Government Charter we are confused about the statement: “It is clearly contrary to the purpose and intent of the MNBC Citizenship Act if only a single member of the Nova Board of Directors is a Métis Citizen…”
This is confusing for the following. The Nova board has a number of representatives that have decided to take MNBC citizenship. However, registration in the MNBC citizenship process is an individual responsibility as MNBC is a separate legal organization from Nova. As the Métis community in Surrey Nova members are provided information about MNBC citizenship registration. However, members elect the Nova board. Therefore, our board feels that it is the responsibility of MNBC to better support the citizenship process, within the current Charter Agreement, to address Métis governance, including MNBC citizenship.
Despite this MNBC misunderstanding, we believe that Nova has one of the largest number of members who also have decided to obtain their MNBC citizenship card.
We are requesting MNBC to provide the list of Nova members that have an MNBC citizenship card?
2. MNBC allegations of failure by Nova to notify MNBC of community meetings for last 4 years
The MNBC letter claims Nova is not in compliance with section 2.5 of the Charter Agreement that states:
“The Nova Métis Heritage Association agrees to submit any and all notices of community meetings as may be considered appropriate, through the MPCBC/MNBC Regional Director.”
The language in section 2.5 states “may” and not “will”. Therefore, there is no requirement to be in compliance. This MNBC statement is inaccurate.
However, Nova has provided numerous opportunities for the former MNBC Regional Director Mr. Glen Ohs (2012-2016) to attend any Nova meeting. Other MNBC representatives are also always welcome as the MNBC woman’s rep has consistently been invited to attend which to date has not been supported.
Given the MNBC statements specific to Section 2.5 the Nova board wants to know how to comply? What is MNBC’s expectations and is there a specific notification process MNBC is seeking? Can MNBC provide clarity in order to assist Nova better understand?
3. MNBC allegations of failure by Nova to provide Nova financial statements
MNBC quotes section 3.1 of the Charter Agreement that states:
The Nova Métis Heritage Association acknowledges its fiduciary relationship and duties to Métis Citizens/members of the Nova Métis Heritage Association and agrees to be financially accountable to its Citizens/members and the MPCBC/MNBC by producing certified financial statements being made available annually.”
This is incorrect as Nova has provides updated financial reporting for their membership at the Annual General Meeting. The members in attendance have approved regular financial reports on a consistent basis.
Also, the board and member are always welcome to request to review the financial information and have always been made available, as Nova would with MNBC if requested.
Nova is requesting clarification about the process MNBC is seeking as Nova has always remained compliant with section 3.1 of the Charter Agreement.
4. MNBC allegations that Nova did not notify members of Annual General Meetings
MNBC quotes section 3.3 of the Charter Agreement that states:
The Nova Métis Heritage Association will hold Annual General Meetings at least every 15 months based on requirements of the Society Act of the Province of British Columbia. The Nova Métis Heritage Association agrees to provide at least two weeks notice to all Nova Métis Heritage Association Citizens/members and the Regional Director of the date, location, and agenda for the Annual General Meeting.
There seems to be misunderstandings on this issue as well. Nova members and partners are notified well in advance through email, phone calls website posting, weekly Métis Matters Radio Show notifications and other social media channels.
For example, the recent Nova Annual General Meeting held March 6th, 2016 was posted and notifications sent to members over 40 days in advance as follows:
From: James Henry [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: February 22, 2016 10:44 PM
To: Nova Metis
Cc: Amber Lee Geremia; Fisher, Ken; Kerry Marion; Sharon N D Eyford; Coles Gmail Ronald; Krilow Anthony Krilow; Harland Coles
Subject: Re: Nova Metis Heritage Association -Annual General Meeting – Sunday, March 6th, 2016
I have put the AGM on the Web Site calendar. Please let me know if there are any other events you would like me to add to the calendar.
On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 10:25 PM, Nova Metis <email@example.com> wrote:
Nova Metis Heritage Association
Notice of Annual General Meeting
All Nova Metis members in good standing are hereby notified and invited to attend our Annual General Meeting (AGM) at 1:00 PM on Sunday, March 6, 2016, at the Fleetwood Sports & Leisure Centre, 110- 16555 Fraser Hwy. meeting room M3, 2nd floor, Surrey, BC
Our Nova Metis Board of Directors will share financial and other updates from the past calendar year 2015. Agenda of meeting to follow.
Members present will be asked to participate and vote for the Nova Metis incoming Executive and Directors as there will be an election held. choose candidates including President, Ist & 2nd Vice presidents, Secretary Treasurer and a slate of directors (old & new)for the current year 2016.
The meeting will be a potluck event as usual. This means refreshments and other finger foods are all welcome. All donated food you bring will be shared by all. All donations large and small are welcome. Thank you, on behalf of the Nova Metis Board of Directors – Ken J. Fisher – President.
More information at 604-634-0119 – e-mail contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to the posting the agenda was posted after on the Nova website at: http://novametis.ca/content0/meetings/NovaMetis_AGM_Agenda-2016_March–Draft.pdf
This practice has been important for Nova to reach members as best we can with limited capacity and governance resources. The 2015 Nova Annual General Meeting minutes online http://novametis.ca/content0/meetings/NovaMetis_AGM_Minutes_2015-Feb.pdf have also been posted and notification was sent over 30 days in advance as attached.
These two examples of how Nova has done all it can to be in compliance with section 3.3 of the Charter Agreement create confusion about MNBC’s interpretation of this item.
Finally, Nova is proud to maintain good standing as a society for our members and the attached report from the BC Corporations Branch
The Nova board requires clarification and is requesting a meeting with the MNBC Regional Director and MNBC President as per section 7.1 that states:
Where a dispute arises among the Parties respecting the interpretation, application, implementation or operation of this Community Governance Charter agreement, the Parties will attempt to resolve by consensus.
The MNBC letter appears to suggest actions will be taken to terminate the Charter Agreement with Nova if the alleged breaches are not remedied. However, it is unclear if there are breeches to being with. As such our board is prepared to meet at your earliest opportunity.
Please confirm the meeting with our board as soon as possible. I can be reached by email email@example.com or phone 1-604-589-7879.
BC Metis Federation
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation