(Vancouver, BC) The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) national news yesterday conducted an interview with Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) President Bruce Dumont during their “In Focus” segment. This week the APTN topic was about the tar sands and information about impacts which included an interview with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) as well as MNBC. CAPP is an industry lead organization which represents the interest of the oil and gas producers.
MNBC President Bruce Dumont spoke at length about the jobs and consultation with Métis people that allegedly resulted in the vast majority of Métis in British Columbia supporting tar sands expansions and pipeline development such as the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines project and other LNG projects. MNBC President Dumont infers that he represents the large majority of Métis people in British Columbia and he understands the environmental concerns. He further notes that he respects First Nations points of view. MNBC President Dumont makes the statement that Governments make the decision on these projects.
BC Métis Federation President Henry stated, “I found this interview extremely ill informed and uneducated about the environmental issues and position of the Métis people in British Columbia. While MNBC has constituents it is clear that MNBC does not speak for the majority of Métis people. Moreover it has been this style of dictatorship by Mr. Dumont that has created a deep and emotional debate about this and several other issues facing the Métis in BC”
BC Métis Federation President Henry added, “The suggestion of the majority of Métis supporting tar sands and pipeline expansion is not true. MNBC is a non profit provincial representative organization for their estimated 8500 members. MNBC have misled industry and government by creating improper Métis consultations that have reduced community input, capacity and decision making with projects that are in their back yards. Their Métis community’s no longer count in any decision making process and MNBC is millions in debt so they are pressing industry and government for money under the auspices of Métis consultation. Examine the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines project as only one example. Since 2009 is it clear MNBC was invited and funded by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) to conduct Métis consultation. They received substantial funding by CEAA and Enbridge allegedly on behalf of all Métis people in BC to consult on the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline Project which has resulted in an estimated $500,000 in resources for MNBC. However it is clear from the evidence we have seen and will share once again that during this time frame there was no consultation, which is a practice that continues today. In May 2012 the MNBC announced they took the step to sign an equity deal with Enbridge despite calls from their own community that they did not support the project.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry further added, “MNBC representatives continue to suggest their membership is Powley compliant as a means to press consultation with government and industry. This is not true and it is clear MNBC does not understand what Powley compliant means. The MNBC members may have Métis ancestry but a key element of the Métis harvesting rights case in Powley case of 2003 was a direct historical connection to the area. I suggest that MNBC and their members cannot meet this test. In contrast the Kelly Lake Métis Settlement has a rich history in northeast BC. Their members are Powley compliant and their community is recognized in the Federal Government’s environmental review process. As one of our partner communities the BC Métis Federation takes their clear direction on these projects and the truth is their territory along the Alberta/BC border is “ground 0” for the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines project. MNBC has no mandate to speak about their position which is strongly opposed to the project because of their environmental concerns.”
BC Métis Federation Henry further added, “BC Métis Federation and our partner communities are also actively engaged with industry and we are not against economic development. However we ensure the Métis communities and members we represent actually have meaningful input through meaningful consultation and direct BC Métis Federation leadership in their stance despite of our personal views. Our job as leaders is to ensure Métis rights are protected regardless of any government process or legislation. Métis rights are not compromised for jobs or a few dollars for leadership, the communities decide these critical issues and we take their direction. This ethical approach is one reason why BC Métis Federation and several First Nations in British Columbia have reached consensus on projects that we collectively deem must not move forward.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry concluded; “BC Métis Federation will be interviewed next week on Wednesday, January 29th on APTN In Focus in response to the MNBC statements and share our views on behalf of our constituents. MNBC President Dumont is dictating his personal views and values as a justification. His language hides behind government authority and since MNBC is millions in debt their position is severely compromised because they cannot speak for the interests of their membership, they have no choice but to tow the line to ensure they continue to get government and industry funding. Since the decision by MNBC to support the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project in May 2012, they have been misleading industry, government and their own members. I can assure our people that BC Métis Federation will bring the actual voices of Métis people forward as we have most recently during the Federal Government’s meeting on West Coast Energy Infrastructure projects. BC Métis Federation and our communities are recognized and the Métis rights of our membership and partner communities will be protected and fought for. MNBC does not speak for the majority of Métis in BC, that is clear and this latest APTN interview demonstrated the significant difference between the organizations values and policies.”
For more information about the BC Métis Federation please go to www.bcmetis.com.
Keith Henry, President
BC Métis Federation
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
Office 1-604-638-7220 Cell 1-778-388-5013
You can now follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis
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