BC Metis Federation Letter to Governments

Dear Federal and Provincial Ministers;

The BC Métis Federation writes in our continued efforts to seek clarification from your Ministries to demand full public transparency and clarification regarding Métis funding and the impacts of one of the worst failed economic development strategies to hit the Métis people of British Columbia and Canada.

In 2009 the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC), through their secretariat Métis Provincial Council of British Columbia (MPCBC), purchased a school from School District #36 in Abbotsford for $2.2 million. The MNBC also acquired an additional line of credit to renovate the facility. There was no borrowing resolution approved by MNBC members prior to the decisions. Shortly after the purchase a number of Métis people began to raise serious questions and today, four years later, MNBC is holding approximately $6.8 million to somehow pay off. This figure is identified according to the recent MNBC financial statements from their two non-profit corporations Metis Provincial Council of British Columbia (MPCBC) and Metis Skills and Education Center Trust (MS and ECT) released at their recent Annual General Meeting September 27th – 29th, 2013 in Richmond.

First the accumulated debt of MPCBC and MS and ECT confirmed by their auditors as of March 31st, 2013 (only seven months ago) identifies the total accumulated debt as $3,045,937. Second the loans and lines of credit in the MPCBC statements ending March 31st, 2013 in Note 7 and Note 8 total $5,987,445.00. MNBC’s press release statement issued last week http://www.mnbc.ca/features/current/mnbc-property-sold states the school in Abbotsford sold for $2.25 million. According to this figure the remaining outstanding loans in Note 7 and 8 are approximately $3,737,445. This figure does not include the accumulated deficit of the MPCBC and MS and ECT as of March 31st, 2013 as mentioned in the first point.

Therefore the total estimated current outstanding losses after the sale is approximately $6,783,382.00 which is much more than what MNBC is trying to suggest in their recent press release.

A few other important financial facts using MNBC`s own information:

1. MNBC increased the overall accumulated debt through MPCBC and MS and ECT $2,818,181.00 since 2008 and prior to the purchase of the school in Abbotsford.

2. The current insolvency has increased $6,146,718.00 since 2008 and prior to purchasing the school. This sale of $2,225,000 is below the asset value of the land and building listed in the
MPCBC financial statements (Note 4) as of March 31st, 2013. In their books, MPCBC has this school valued at $3,219,518.00 and this sale is less than the amount MPCBC has “counted” as an asset and as such the sale will actually increase their overall insolvency by approximately $1 million dollars.

3. MNBC has lost about another million dollars through their accounts paying for property taxes, interest and financing charges, etc since June 2009 to October 31st, 2013. If profit had been paid on the sale, one could suggest this additional million to cover these operational costs were an investment but considering this price was such a loss, so was this money. This does not show up anywhere in these figures but it is a very relevant point I want to add and further provides a rationale as to the frustration and realization how devastating this ill conceived idea has been since June 2009.

The only way forward for MNBC is to take funds from current program funding to pay off the approximate $6.8 million over a very long period of time. These significant financial concerns are why BC Métis Federation continues repeating to governments to stop funding MNBC. There are other agencies and community organizations that can better serve Metis people without millions more being lost to pay off such major mismanagement.

A recent MNBC by-election continues to add additional proof for governments that should question the legitimacy of MNBC as a Métis representative organization. The MNBC structure includes 25 elected positions. During the 2012 MNBC General Election the voter turnout dropped to approximately 600 voters which was down substantially from previous MNBC General Elections. A number of MNBC positions were left vacant as no candidates ran for several of the 25 positions. In fact many of the other MNBC positions had only one candidate. This was reinforced this past week once more as MNBC ran by-elections for 14 of their 25 elected positions trying to correct this situation from 2012 http://www.mnbc.ca/features/current/mnbc-2013-by-elections-chief-electoral-officer-serves-notice-of-declaration. The results speak for themselves; 6 of the 14 positions remain without a candidate, 7 had one candidate, and there is one election with two representatives. These examples continue to showcase the weakness of MNBC within their own membership and larger Métis community.

Métis people deserve answers to the worst economic failure ever to hit the Metis in Canada. It appears the Provincial Government played a key role in supporting the MNBC to purchase the school in 2009 and why? Métis people also know the Federal Government paid MNBC to complete an MNBC Debt Recovery Plan in 2011 that failed and was never properly implemented and why was MNBC allowed to carry forward without consequences?

We are requesting a response to how both governments allowed MNBC to incur approximately $6.8 million in debt without taking serious action prior. BC Métis Federation, and formerly as the Coalition of Concerned Métis Citizens, repeatedly questioned governments and raised concerns but no actions were ever taken. Unfortunately our concerns have been proven correct and Métis people apparently are on the hook for $6.8 million. Going forward MNBC has significant insolvency and does government believe it is responsible to move forward like business as usual with MNBC?

BC Métis Federation believes there should be a full public inquiry so all parties can answer for how millions of dollars were lost of public funding intended to assist Métis people in British Columbia. Today MNBC is left with $6.8 million to pay off and how does this seem just for the 70,000 Métis people of British Columbia?
Thank you,
Keith Henry
cc BC Mètis Federation Board
BC Mètis Federation Statement of Cooperation Communities

[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/BC-Metis-Federation-Letter-to-Governments-November-4th-2013-Metis-Devasting-Loss-Owe-6.8-MIllion-1.pdf” style=”download”]Download this Press Release in PDF[/ilink]

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