Métis Community Leaders
Métis People of BC
Re: Métis Nation British Columbia Alleged Setting the Record Straight
BC Métis Federation Members, Partner Communities, Corporate Partners and friends;
It is to the dismay of the BC Métis Federation that this letter needs to be written. It is an unfortunate state of affairs when Métis Nation British Colubia (MNBC) chooses to attack people individually as they have done once again in their most recent article entitled; MNBC Setting The Record Straight-Correcting Misinformation by former MNBC Employee, Keith Henry. This MNBC authored docment was never requested for comment or any response and lacks credibility and accuracy in many regards.
The MNBC recently posted their 2013-2014 Financial Statements and as President of the BC Métis Federation I shared my interpretations in relation to the facts presented by MNBC through their auditors. At no point did I make or provide incorrect information. In the recent MNBC response what you find is a very selective and narrow interpretation of these same MNBC financial statements. At first glance MNBC wants their members and partners to believe that the organization has somehow made progress in spite of the overwhelming evidence of their significant financial debt which increased once again this past fiscal year. Their financial position is clear, as of March 31st, 2014, MNBC has an accumulated debt of $2,970,848.00.
The MNBC auditors support our position for the members of MNBC, as they have since 2011, by adding the Emphasis of Matter in page 2 of the introduction dated May 28th, 2014 which states:
Without qualifying our opinion, we draw attention to Note 9 in the financial statements which indicates that as at March31, 2014 the Council’s current liabilities exceeded it’s current assets by $646,947 (2013 – $5,624,881) and the Council had an accumulates deficit of $2,970,848 (2013 – $2,299,981). These conditions indicate the existence of a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt about the Council’s ability to continue as a going concern.
This statement by the MNBC auditors should raise significant concerns, however I stand behind several other “numbers within the numbers” as you will see by the points I have raised:
- MNBC did lose over $2 million last year after losses on the sale of the school and several other points MNBC has identified in their response.
- MNBC wants you to believe that some of the overpayments were a simple error. I disagree. For example, MNBC now claims overpayments for employment and training were due to students and beyond the control of the organization. I have directly administered this program in the past and on the surface this does not appear either possible or correct. MNBC would have to provide the actual list of expenses that were deemed to be ineligible by the funding partner to provide proof of the inaccuarcies and substantiate their claim that there was a simple error.
MNBC was subject to an “independent audit” from 2008 – 2012 contracted by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), Hallux. MNBC was found to have significant funds unaccounted for and the auditor has remained steadfast thet her company stands behind the audit and its findings. BC Métis Federation posted the complete audit after requesting through a Freedom of Informaton inquiry. At no point did MNBC advise their members although they had since 2013. This example, along with continued patterns by MNBC to deflect and deny, should provide a clear picture about why MNBC has once again resorted to their same old tired tactics of pesonal attacks, many against myself. So as educated and informed Métis people, one must ask themselves, who is telling the truth based on the groundless accusations by MNBC and their continued financial demise.
As for the information provided that the BC Métis Federation “attacks” on MNBC are a product of Mr. Henry, this is totally unfounded. The BC Métis Federation has supported all of the documentation and publications as it has come from the Federal Government through the Freedom of Information Act and was not even accessed by myself. Therefore, comments such as,
“MNBC management has decided to provide a response to Keith Henry’s serious misinformation and the gross misrepresentation of MNBC’s financial position that he posted on the BCMF website on October 14, 2014 in the hopes of putting an end to the attacks. We chose in the past to take the high road by not responding to the continuous public attacks made by Mr. Henry and the BC Metis Federation.
There are always two sides to every story and we will take this opportunity to present our side in the hopes that the attacks on MNBC will finally end so our dedicated staff can continue with the great things that are being achieved for Métis people in this Province. MNBC would like to correct Mr. Henry’s serious misinformation about MNBC’s audited financial statements and the gross misrepresentation of MNBC’s financial position.
These attacks by Mr. Henry are for his personal and political interests, rather than for the betterment of Métis people. Serious allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Mr. Henry while employed as CEO of the MNBC were reported to the MNBC executive in September 2008 and in order to protect the MNBC staff and employees from what were clearly serious allegations that did or could affect them, Mr. Henry was provided with the option of resigning or being dismissed. Mr. Henry wisely chose to resign and he has been on the attack ever since.”
Neither I nor the BC Métis Federation has personally attacked any MNBC staff or board members directly and criticism of MNBC has been with supporting evidence based on fact. Unfortunately, MNBC continues to attempt to attack when they feel pressure as a way to somehow deflect and justify their failures and incompetence. Furthermore, MNBC continues to attack without supporting documentation to back up their old claims. For example, one of the statements made in their recent letter suggests BC Métis Federation is hiding our 2013-2014 Annual Report with a number of other insinuations. Had MNBC properly investigated they would have noted that the BC Métis Federation Annual Report was posted September 4th on our website and is still there today, as it was since September 4th http://bcmetis.com/2014/09/bc-metis-federation-2013-2014-annual-report/. In addition, unlike MNBC, BC Métis Federation provided a live video option which has been posted on our website October 14th, since our AGM held September 27th http://bcmetis.com/2014/10/annual-general-meeting-video/.
Another example of unsupported claims is MNBC now suggesting I was provided an option to resign in 2008. I have addressed these incorrect claims in the past. I resigned from MNBC and they accepted after serious disagreements. I have letters to support what MNBC actually did. MNBC has told people they fired me repeatedly as a character assignation and is politically motivated. This statement is completely inaccurate and misleading. Furthermore, I am not some former disgruntled MNBC ex-employee. I have a great career and am proud of the work I carry on in a number of organizations. I am also the proud leader of an organization determined to make a difference for our Métis people which the BC Métis Federation has done since launching in 2011.
Today BC Métis Federation has created an organization free of such lateral violence and welcomes past MNBC staff and elected board members that chose to leave MNBC because they did not wish to be part of anything that they felt was not in the best interests of the Métis people. MNBC’s letter lacks leadership and once again crosses the line and leaves a bad taste for all Métis people watching on the side lines. The response is immature and not supported by facts. MNBC wrote 8 pages to reinforce what their financial statements already say; which is MNBC lost another significant amount of money in their last 12 months and they neglected to equate the loss of the assets of buildings and land in their analysis of the debt reduction. MNBC does not carry some of the loans when they owned the school but did not address how their assets have also dropped by approximately $3 million from the past fiscal year. All in all they are trying to convince Mètis people that all is well but the truth is it got far worse and MNBC will have to figure out how to pay a long term loan of $4 million by 2028.
If the MNBC would like to further their “confessions” perhaps, the internet is not the correct venue. I find it ironic that MNBC posted on our website as well. We welcome their support and are very glad to see even MNBC realizes the reach of BC Mètis Federation. MNBC should show the correct financials, posted the Hallux Report, declare the “double dipping on per diems (as clearly stated in the independent financial audit), and truly identify why MNBC lost so many staff over the years who will not “hail” to the oath of secrecy. In fact MNBC today has very few Mètis staff even working for them anymore.
What is most disappointing is the fact that people like me aided in getting the MNBC out of a financial crisis formed by a past MNBC leadership in 2003. When I was the MNBC CEO and directed the overall financial affairs MNBC had reduced the organization debt to approximately $227,000 as of March 31st, 2008. In 2011 an independent group of Métis stakeholders, including myself, still tried to assist MNBC with developing a debt recovery plan which was ignored. In 2012, the MNBC developed their own debt recovery plan to pacify the government and as is evident today, that was not followed through either. Who can forget when MNBC repeatedly mislead their members about approval of stimulus funding totalling $1.5 million that never arrived, plus so much more.
If the MNBC wishes to talk loyalty and not bashing good Métis people, then they should focus on getting their financials in order and more importantly be honest. The reality going forward is that MNBC cannot sustain the $4.0 million dollar long term loan and address monthly operational costs. MNBC is functionally bankrupt and is significantly insolvent. There are no independent revenues and it remains unclear how MNBC will ever et out of their ballooning debt. Negotiating an interest free loan, while may be interpreted a success by MNBC, should not have happened in the first place.
During the months of November and December, the BC Métis Federation will be travelling and conducting consultations with TransCanada and Enbridge, including site visits. These will take place over a four week period and total a minimum of 16 days on the ground. In the fall of 2013 and spring of 2014 BC Métis Federation travelled with Kinder Morgan and Enbridge visiting communities and produced final reports regarding the responses from every single community and the budgets that accompanied that. The BC Métis Federation is accountable for every dollar we get and we continue to use our (your) money wisely to promote culture as we will be moving forward with two events for Louis Riel Day, one in Fort St John on November 15th and one in Vancouver on November 16th. We are in the community and using a great amount of volunteer support and money to ensure that our people are heard and that our organization is not simply “another Métis handout”.
I continue to argue what did MNBC do with their significant money to consult communities? There are no public MNBC reports and community forums. BC Mètis Federation is recognized by industry and we ensure our members provide us direction and we post all reports and summarize expenditures. This is the same theme with the lack of MNBC governance and overall lack of MNBC community engagement.
The BC Métis Federation urges people to look at the facts. Examine the MNBC audits, Hallux Report and other factors. It is time to take a stand and ensure that an organization like MNBC who has no real support for communities and today boasts about poor results, is held accountable.
The BC Métis Federation does not feel it necessary to address all of the points that MNBC has attempted to attack myself or the BC Métis Federation. There has been enough valuable and credible financial information, personal affidavits and Métis people that have come forward to ensure that our claims regarding the lack of MNBC accountability and MNBC transparency needs to be questioned.
In closing I will not personally attack MNBC leaders or management and I am disappointed in the condoning of such strong lateral violence. An elected representative organization such as MNBC should be open to criticisms and try to problem solve, not lay blame. BC Mètis Federation has attempted and offered to meet on several occasions with MNBC leaders but it has always been MNBC who has refused to try and resolve issues. The issues I have raised are not as an individual but as a leader with the support of our board, a number of partner communities, and thousands of members. MNBC has lost most grassroots support in British Columbia due to this type of behaviour.
BC Métis Federation has provided Métis people a choice for representation. We have informed governments that we do not oppose MNBC working for their members. In fact to the contrary as we understand MNBC has members. What we have issue with is the ongoing mismanagement of Métis funds meant to assist all Métis people in British Columbia administered by an organization that has growing insolvency and a proven track record of unethical behavior. There is no doubt future governance, industry and program funds will be redirected to pay for mistakes within MNBC. We also have issue with MNBC suggesting they speak for all Métis people in British Columbia, which we know they do not.
The tag line used once again from MNBC suggesting they have set the record straight is political and a diversionary tactic to confuse Mètis people. It is only political in nature and provides a very narrow view of a bad situation. MNBC lost money once again.
I hope this provides our members clarification and insight into my response to the MNBC statement.
Things must change.
Encl. MNBC Setting The Record Straight- Correcting Misinformation by former MNBC Employee, Keith Henry
[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Letter-to-Metis-People-October-22-2014-BCMF-Response-to-MNBC.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download the press release as a PDF[/ilink]
[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/MNBC-Response_to_BCMF_Oct_20-2014-15.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download the MNBC Response to BCMF as a PDF[/ilink]