Liberal Aboriginal Affairs Critic Calls on Federal Minister to Act

Liberal Aboriginal Affairs Critic Dr. Carolyn Bennett has contacted BC Metis Federation in response to the ongoing developments of Metis financial mismanagement and concerns. The Liberal critic has informed the BC Metis Federation that a letter sent to her office has now been forward to Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Valcourt to ensure a follow up meeting is held.

This letter was sent February 26th 2013

Honourable Dr. Carolyn Bennett
Member of Parliament – Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Critic
Government of Canada

Dear Honourable Dr. Bennett,

I am writing to seek your immediate assistance to urge the newly appointed Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) Honourable Bernard Valcourt to meet with representatives from the BC Métis Federation in the very near future. The previous Federal Minister refused to meet to address their concerns for the Métis communities in British Columbia.

There has been longstanding discourse corresponded to the Ministers office from the BC Métis Federation regarding the mismanagement of program and consultation resources for all Métis people in BC. It appears to me that there is valid and serious issues that must be addressed to further investigate the manner in which the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) is delivering federally funded programs for those in need as well as consultation administered by MNBC given the relationship and recognition.

After further review the MNBC appears to be insolvent and is carrying millions in debt which is affecting their ability to properly delivery programs and services the federal government funds. We understand the Federal Ministers office funded a debt recovery plan for this organization in 2011 and despite such efforts MNBC continues to substantially increase debt. This is not good public policy nor acceptable for any Aboriginal community when AANDC has consistently put other Aboriginal communities in third party management when such financial mismanagement is consistently occurring.

The manner in which Métis consultation is being funded and directed as policy from the AANDC office must be further reviewed. MNBC has been provided substantial funding from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) for a variety of projects in BC that could have significant impacts on Métis communities and families and it appears MNBC did not actually perform the consultations with their members or communities.

MNBC also appears to not have a clear mandate from Métis people showcased this past September 2012 when only 600 Métis people cast votes in a province wide election, which was down from about 1600 two elections previously. These issues and other matters have led me to request your assistance to facilitate a meeting with the new AANDC Minister to ensure Métis people in BC have proper representation and solutions can be found for the future.

We welcome an opportunity to meet in the future despite our differences.

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

[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-letter-to-AANDC-Critic-Dr.-Bennett-Feb-26th-2013.pdf” style=”download”]Download this Letter in PDF format[/ilink]

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