Letter to Federal Minister Valcourt ~ Métis National Council Clarification Request

BC Metis Federation has written to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Minister Bernard Valcourt building on the Metis National Council Financial Scandal released last week. There as been recent media statements from current Metis National Council President Clement Chartier which appears to contradict the AANDC audit and other issues.

Dear Minister Valcourt,

BC Metis Federation writes to urgently request clarification at a future meeting regarding the situation confronting the Métis National Council (MNC) and the recent audit information from late 2012.

Last week the BC Métis Federation called for an immediate stop of public funding to the MNC in light of serious allocations stemming from the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) third party completed in October of 2012 by Hallux Consulting Inc. The release of this MNC audit information April 8th has created significant public interest and media coverage.

I write today to request your clarification to the statements made by AANDC following the recent press coverage suggesting immediate steps were taken to address this situation by AANDC. We are requesting AANDC to clarify what steps were actually taken to protect the interests of Mètis people throughout Canada? AANDC has a legal obligation to all Métis and not just an organization such as the MNC. Métis programming has been transitioned directly under AANDC and it is our position that your office has significant responsibilities to ensure Métis organizations are managing Federal Government resources responsibility. AANDC has authority to address First Nation Bands with actual steps to ensure proper management of funding, such as outlined in the Indian Act and the standard of care provisions. In this case we question how MNC can be funded in light of the growing overall insolvency, improper expenses to AANDC programs, etc. Therefore we want clarification to what steps were actually taken to address the MNC financial issues?

Our concerns were heightened this weekend after reviewing MNC President Chartier’s latest comments. According to an interview by MNC President Clement Chartier on CJME in Regina, he has publicly stated the only MNC overpayment finalized by AANDC was for $96,000 as of January 30th, 2013. MNC President Chartier is publicly suggesting that AANDC has determined there is no merit to the $1.35 million identified by the independent auditor in October 2012. Furthermore MNC President Chartier seems to suggest MNC expenses were in accordance with AANDC funding programs and there are no issues. Interesting to note that the $96,000.00 figure is the overpayment established as of March 31st, 2012, months before the completion of the third party audit. This figure is in the MNC Financial Statements of 2011-2012. Given the extensive audit process and questionable expenditures after this date can AANDC confirm if this is in fact true by providing a copy of the January 30th, 2013 letter MNC President Chartier references in this latest media interview?

The concerns are raised ever more when you consider the statements by Métis Nation of Saskatchewan President Robert Doucette in the same interview. President Doucette, who is a member of the MNC board, is unaware of any such AANDC decision and was unaware of the audit information altogether. This lack of MNC governance was further revealed in March only one month prior when stories broke in the media regarding the lack of governance at the MNC. In an article entitled “Infighting Erupts Among Métis National Council Leadership” another MNC board member, Métis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras, also confirms the MNC board has not met since last June of 2013.

The evidence in terms of the audit and media statements creates unprecedented implosion of the MNC. The result is timelines and public statements by AANDC and MNC that do not make sense and continue embarrassing Métis people. The MNC board is dysfunctional, MNC President Chartier has proven incapable of public transparency and credibility, and there should be a complete investigation into the MNC expenditures and their insolvency.

We urge a timely response and will continue to follow up until AANDC clarifies what exactly is the situation. We look forward to a future meeting.

Thank you,
Keith Henry, President
BC Métis Federation
Suite 300-3665 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2

[ilink url=”[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-letter-to-AANDC-Minister-Valcourt-April-14th-2014-MNC-Clarification-Request.pdf” style=”download”]Download this Press Release in PDF[/ilink]
[ilink url=”[ilink url=”http://cjme.com/story/m-tis-national-council-audit-reveals-13-million-ineligible-expenses/311543″ style=”download”]CJME Radio New story April 12th 2014 [/ilink]
[ilink url=”[ilink url=”http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/infighting-erupts-among-m%C3%A9tis-national-council-leadership-1.2580294″ style=”download”]CBC Newslink Fighting erupts Among MNC[/ilink]

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