The following letter was sent today to the Honourable Mary Polak, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation for the Province of British Columbia and the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada for the Government of Canada…
Dear Minister Polak and Minister Duncan,
The British Columbia Métis Federation (BCMF) continues our efforts to provide your offices clarification regarding the current governance challenges created by the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC). BCMF believes government investments are not being utilized properly for their intended purposes and placed at significant risk due to the fact that MNBC has insolvent. BCMF have offered several factually supported examples to legitimize this claim over the last few months in written correspondences and continues to provide solutions for your consideration.
BCMF sent a letter last week to your offices that raised questions about how your officials review MNBC performance in relation to provincial and federal funding provided to the MNBC for governance capacity, registry, and policy in 2010-2011. The BCMF letter identified two points in relation to an MNBC work plan submitted June 15th, 2010 with MNBC stated performance indicators as examples to support BCMF concerns and support why change is needed now. Today BCMF provides another example of MNBC’s gross overall financial mismanagement from the lack of MNBC transparency regarding the property owned at 30691 Simpson Road in Abbotsford, BC.
MNBC is insolvent as of March 31st, 2011 by no less than $2.3 million and it appears MNBC leaders and management refuse to be transparent or accountable about the financial state of the MNBC with their MNBC citizens and/or government partners. BCMF (as the former Coalition of Concerned Métis Citizens – CCMC) has demanded MNBC answer the Métis public at large regarding the accumulating debt that has increased by over 2 million in the last three years alone. BCMF is confident that the 2010-2011 MNBC financial statements will result in an increased organizational debt once the public has an opportunity to fully review. MNBC has yet to provide their audited financial statement for 2010-2011 although BCMF has requested in early July.
Another example of how the overall financial insolvency affects MNBC can be realized if one reviews why MNBC has not paid property taxes for the property they purchased June 15th, 2009. The former CCMC was critical regarding the alleged financial benefits this property would bring based on MNBC making several unrealistic claims at their AGM in September 2009. The most unrealistic MNBC claim at that time was that this property would provide significant new financial investments for Métis communities within two years and savings to administration. By stark contrast since June 2009 the administration costs have greatly increased and financial damage of this poor decision is unprecedented as MNBC has significantly increased their organizational debt, cannot pay property taxes, and has precipitated many other challenges in this same two year claim. Several letters were sent by the concerned Métis people to MNBC that to date have never been answered. Therefore BCMF has attached two documents for your awareness to provide further proof of this issues to further reinforce the overall MNBC mismanagement; Property Tax Assessment as of August 5th, 2011 and the Assessment Roll Report as of August 11th, 2011.
The August 5th, 2011 Property Tax Assessment proves once again MNBC has not paid any property taxes for the property at 30691 Simpson Road for 2010 and 2011. There remains an outstanding balance of all property taxes for 2010-2011 of $235,380.14 and on September 15th, 2011 another 5% penalty will be charged resulting in additional debt for the MNBC. BCMF cannot understand why MNBC has never paid property taxes or admitted to the Métis public at large why they have defaulted on these payments. MNBC leaders made claims in February 2011 to the community leaders that they would make payments. The facts show that as of August 5th MNBC has not kept their word once again. BCMF has researched with the City of Abbotsford and the only effort made was an appeal by the MNBC to reduce the value of the property. The result was a slight reduction in the 2010 assessment and corresponding reduction in the tax amount owing for 2010. Despite this fact, not a penny was paid by the MNBC for these property taxes nor have they once informed the Métis public at large. Regardless the MNBC results are obvious, no payments have been made and a growing tax debt prevails with interest adding each day.
The August 11th, 2011 Assessment Roll Report provides up to date information regarding the value of the aforementioned property that the MNBC purchased. MNBC leaders presented information to their AGM delegates in 2009 claiming that according to the BC Assessment Branch the property was assessed at $5.9 million (this presentation is attached and please review slide 13). The MNBC statements at this time were misleading and created the illusion that the property would provide significant equity and should justify in the minds of all Métis people why MNBC purchased the property without prior consultation with their people. However, this was/is misleading and factually incorrect as the report lists the property in 2009 was valued at $5,471,000.00 (almost a $500,000.00 difference) according to the Assessment Roll Report dated August 11th, 2011. Furthermore, the Assessment Roll Report indicates that the value of this property is actually reducing each year:
- 2009 – $5,471,000.00
- 2010 – $5,305,000.00
- 2011 – $5,230,000.00
Unfortunately MNBC leadership and management have continued claims about the property being worth $6 million and building equity each year in spite of the fact that this assessment only deals with how the municipality charges property taxes and moreover if one was to believe the MNBC rhetoric the property is actually decreasing in value. The actual value of the property would be subject to fair market rates and BCMF remains highly cynical that this property would be able to cover the existing mortgage, additional lines of credit, and back taxes accumulated by the MNBC, let alone pay back the massive organizational debt if put on the market for sale today.
BCMF submits this information to continue supporting awareness about the mismanagement and lack of public transparency exhibited by MNBC time and time again. It appears governments continue to dismiss the obvious if this information is not properly acted upon by governments and followed up with MNBC for legitimate verification. This MNBC financial mismanagement, supported by documented evidence is undeniable. BCMF strongly encourages all MNBC funding partners to not only better understand the financial risk MNBC has created, but also to be proactive in dealing with it.
BCMF advises that Métis people are currently reviewing options, including civil action, to recoup Métis funding taken from the MNBC as another legitimate solution to address this historic mismanagement. Remember the MNBC is currently overspending as a board on themselves without the funding to support these expenses. The MNBC board has a legal obligation as a non-profit to spend only what the society can afford and manage the proper delivery of programs and services they are contracted to deliver. According to the MNBC financial statements in 2009-2010 the MNBC board and management overspent by almost $1 million in administrative charges. In February 2011 the MNBC board admitted that they were on track to overspend by another $720,000 for 2010-2011. The MNBC board members must be responsible for creating these issues and unfortunately they will all need to be held accountable for the current financial demise of the MNBC.
BCMF calls on governments to review this information carefully and examine the facts presented. This letter provides evidence about the property challenges that affect all government funding partners either directly or indirectly. Why doesn’t MNBC pay their property taxes? The reason is obvious they do not have the money to do so. MNBC has never been transparent about how they are addressing the inability to pay taxes. BCMF has made this known publicly otherwise no one would be aware. Fortunately MNBC has been forced to discuss this embarrassment because BCMF has continued our efforts to investigate the issues.
BCMF continues to look forward to future meetings with governments as the need to rebuild a new provincial Métis representative organization in British Columbia is required immediately.
Please feel to contact me should you have any further questions. I can be reached at the BCMF head office number 1-604-638-7220 or by email directly @ email@example.com.
British Columbia Métis Federation
Suite 300-3665 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC, V5R 5W2
BCMF Board of Directors
Mary Lou Kenney, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Government of Canada
Rod Cunningham, Service Canada
Arlene Paton, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Letter-to-Provincial-and-Federal-Government-August-15th-2011.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download this letter in PDF format.[/ilink]
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/Property-Taxes-as-of-August-5th-2011.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download the Property Tax Assessment – August 5, 2011.[/ilink]
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/BCA_Web_Query_-_Assessment_Roll_Report1.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download the Assessment Roll Report – August 11, 2011.[/ilink]
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/MNBC-School-Plan-October-2009.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download the MNBC School Plan – October 2009.[/ilink]