BC Metis Federation Sees 30% Federal Project Funding Cuts as Disastrous for Metis

(Vancouver, BC) – Effective this past week there has been quantum shift in the federal government’s commitment to properly fund Aboriginal groups across Canada with a new round of project cuts and that most certainly could affect the debt laden Metis Nation British Columbia (MNBC). http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2013/06/07/north-aboriginal-funding-cuts.html

It has been reported this past year that initial cutbacks for national and regional Aboriginal organizations began last fall when the Harper government introduced a 10% reduction in core funding for 2014. Regional groups such as MNBC got the same reduction to their core funding, a 10% across the board cutback or a ceiling of $500,000.

This past week a large number of regional and national Aboriginal organizations have received letters from the federal government that indicate additional cuts of 30% to project funding will be introduced as a direct result of this round of federal budget cutbacks. The Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) letter claims the objective of the drastic cuts is to eradicate duplication of programs and to make sure that funding for projects in 2013 – 2014 will demonstrate clear achievable outcomes that are linked to departmental priorities.

President Keith Henry of the BC Metis Federation is concerned that Metis people in British Columbia will also feel the negative impact of these federal cuts in starker terms perhaps than any other First Nations organization because of the already serious financial precarious position of MNBC which is one of the only government funded Metis organizations in the province. MNBC has been sinking in red ink since it bought an old defunct school in Abbotsford without a proper mandate in June of 2009 and today MNBC has been unable to make any profitable use of the facility despite the original claims. MNBC has increased debt each year since 2009 resulting in millions in loses and any reduction to MNBC core funding would essentially freeze what few programs are left for Metis youth, elders, skills & training and education.

BC Métis Federation President Henry stated, “As the Federal Government reduces its funding to MNBC through their core allocation of 10% and projects by an additional 30%, it appears MNBC will no longer be able to service their ballooning millions in debt and infrastructure costs.”

BC Métis Federation President Henry added; “The BC Métis Federation presented a financial assessment of MNBC in October 2012 when MNBC finally released their financial statements for the previous fiscal year (April 1st, 2011-March 31st, 2012). The financial assessment revealed the MNBC’s extremely poor current financial ratio in comparison to working capital (0.44, anything less than 1.00 means a company cannot cover all current liabilities), significant amount of resources MNBC requires to manage current interest and bank loans (requiring MNBC to pay about $50,000.month), and other key issues. Adding the pressures of a loss of resources for projects in addition to the core funding loss will have a dramatic impact on the future sustainability of this nonprofit organization.”

BC Métis Federation President Henry further added, “We continue to encourage MNBC to file bankruptcy and do what is best to protect the interest of Métis programs and services. It appears today MNBC representatives are pushing industry wherever they can for traditional knowledge funding, project funding, etc in an effort to offset the current and future sustainability issues for MNBC while not properly representing the large majority of Métis grassroots people or families. MNBC was provided resources by the Federal Government to create a debt recovery plan in 2011, that failed and today the MNBC debt or future MNBC sustainability is a very serious issue for that organization. Their last fiscal year ended March 31st, 2013 and what are the financial facts? How much more did MNBC lose in this latest fiscal year? Is MNBC able to pay back their debts created in only the last four years by poor management and by a school without a real plan? BC Métis Federation will continue our work free of debt and demonstrating true leadership by involving members to be part of all decision making and any project funding.”

BC Métis Federation President Henry concluded, “What is most unfortunate is that organizations like MNBC truly hurt the needs of Métis people more than they could ever imagine. There is no question there are ongoing gaps in Métis cultural services and policy and there should be new investments or maintaining of current programs. Yet due to years of MNBC financial mismanagement Métis people will feel the impacts as MNBC will continue to redirect any future funding from community capacity support and project funding to cover their $50,000.00 a month in interest and debt financing costs. This is simply not sustainable and there is little wonder why governments can take such action with little to no opposition from organizations who are fully dependent on every cent that they can squeeze from them.”

For more information about the BC Métis Federation please go to www.bcmetis.com.

Media Inquiries:
Keith Henry
BC Métis Federation
#300-3665 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
Office 1-604-638-7220
Cell 1-778-388-5013
Email k.henry@bcmetis.com

You can now follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis

[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Press-Release-June-10th-2013-Feds-Announce-More-Budget-Cuts.pdf” style=”download”]BCMF Press Release June 10th, 2013 Feds Announce More Budget Cuts[/ilink]

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