Open letter to the BC Métis People

[box type=”note” size=”large”]Oops! We accidentally linked to the wrong post from the Tuesday the 24th BCMF Update email. If you are looking for the BCMF letter to the MNBC dated for Tuesday the 24th, please click here. [/box]

The following letter was sent this morning by the BC Métis Federation to the Métis People…

Métis People of British Columbia,

I am writing this letter addressed to Métis people in British Columbia as follow up to the ongoing developments highlighted last night during our online Coffee Talk show in terms the ongoing financial situation at the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC).

During Coffee Talk the BC Métis Federation financial advisor and Chartered Accountant Mr. Sandy Aird provided his opinion on the impacts of the recent MNBC acquisition of a second mortgage registered against the property located at 30691 Simpson Road of $1.6 million. He provided his views on two possible scenarios:

  1. The bank (RBC) provided MNBC an additional $1.6 million for MNBC to cash manage the organization financed against the value of their asset, or rather the property located at 30691 Simpson Road. This would increase the overall insolvency an additional $1.6 million but Mr. Aird did not believe this is the case.
  2. The bank (RBC) refinanced some of the existing MNBC debts, included a few of the MNBC’s key outstanding payables, and increased their security on the MNBC assets at a higher rate of interest which is now financed at prime plus 5%. Therefore Mr. Aird was confident the overall state of MNBC insolvency will increase but it is unclear in the absence of full MNBC public disclosure.

Click here to view the Coffee Talk slide presentation which provides a visual to better understand the significant financial challenges at the MNBC.

The situation and events within the MNBC board and management continues to demonstrate severe mismanagement resulting in negative impacts to existing programs and an outright lack of public transparency. Repeatedly MNBC has not provided information and once again did not disclose this major decision. We believe the process by which a borrowing resolution was presented to RBC was not proper and thereby contravening corporate law. Unfortunately we believe that in spite of these contraventions that if tested in the court MNBC would quickly resort to the legal standing that the MNBC is defined as only 11 directors, a legal point the MNBC legal counsel has made when questioned at the MNGA in the past. Therefore a court challenge would be pointless given these uncertainties.

The new financial situation and events unfolding at MNBC have become a unique story in themselves:

  • MNBC leadership admits more deficits at the MNGA last February, now self identified at $2.3 million as of March 31st, 2011.
  • MNBC sent out a press release last March celebrating the confirmation of federal stimulus funding of $1.45 million that remains to be confirmed. 
  • MNBC leadership release MNBC Debt Recovery Plan last May reconfirming MNBC debt of $2.3 million, confirming the third year of substantial financial losses.
  • MNBC refuses to release financial statements last July.
  • MNBC forced to release financial statements when a Global TV reporter shows up to their offices on August 31st.
  • BC Métis Federation releases a financial overview September 8th and presents many questions within the MNBC financial statements. These remain unanswered to this day.
  • MNBC releases the first and only Debt Recovery Plan reporting last September 12th that remains to be the only reporting as of this date. MNBC confirms continued financial losses. MNBC committed in writing to provide monthly updates on their debt recovery and this has not been updated on the MNBC website in any manner since the release of the MNBC Debt Recovery Plan and initial posting in May of 2011.
  • MNBC releases additional financial information without any prior notice, Métis School financial statements, at the AGM September 23rd – 25th. Métis School financial statements reveal additional MNBC overall losses as the Métis School had additional deficit of $239,534.00 on March 31st, 2011.
  • BC Métis Federation makes efforts to clarify last October in a written correspondence to MNBC to explain the inaccuracy of their public claims of an overall MNBC deficit of $2.3 million when in fact the consolidated debt based on the new information is $2,564,067 as of March 31st, 2011.
  • MNBC closes Meet so Catering Services Inc. last October.
  • MNBC announces the sale of the property at 30691 Simpson Road in Abbotsford last December.
  • MNBC is delinquent on paying youth projects and various employment and training tuitions.
  • Plus so much more…

The reality today is the plot is thickening. As of this week MNBC has now contracted the Youth Director who had left on January 3rd, 2012 to assist the completion of the Youth Projects for 2011-2012 from Heritage Canada. In fact some of the 15 projects received a portion of their funding and the signed contracts this week for the approved youth funding. We find it ironic that the youth project payments are provided in correlation with MNBC borrowing an additional $1.6 million. The fact is only a portion of the projects were paid and given the fact that we are now almost completed 10 months of this fiscal year, many of the projects cannot proceed as originally approved.

Clearly the MNBC board has no real plan of action to solve their gross financial incompetence. The ongoing failures continue to provide ample evidence of the complete disarray of the MNBC on many levels. Clearly the inability by MNBC to explain the situation or provide the Métis public a plan on how MNBC will sustain itself is questionable. Today MNBC has to make their first interest payment on the second mortgage of $10,667.00. How will MNBC cash manage this payment? How is MNBC cash managing all other contracts? Has MNBC replaced the deferred revenue from 2010-2011 of over $1 million dollars. So many questions remain unanswered.

BC Métis Federation submits that any “after the fact” MNBC explanation at this point should not have merit considering how MNBC written commitments have meant absolutely nothing to date. MNBC board members will continue to draw on your friendships and compassion for the ideology that MNBC as a corporation is the Nation. The hard facts are that the MNBC board has created financial ruin by their decisions, their lack of skills and their disregard for full public accountability. I realize there are several capable Métis community representatives who simply do not have accurate information to make informed decisions and this continues to be the main reason the MNBC board and management has been able to confuse and manipulate the Métis people. The MNBC is broken, the governance system designed and implemented in 2005 has failed. It is time to admit the MNBC system is broken and move forward for the future. Further delays in immediate action will only prolong the inevitable.

MNBC board members should resign or MNBC board members should force themselves into bankruptcy and we as Métis people need to start rebuilding. The prospects of paying back the increasing millions in debt appear impossible and the loss of program funding will only increase. This is not fair to those most in need.

The only MNBC board strategy at this point appears to stay the course and “survive” as many of us realize their term ends now in only another 7 months. This MNBC board cannot solve the current millions in debt, loss of programs, plus so much more and there is no future sustainability. MNBC supporters, it is time to start being practical, we can move on together without this MNBC debt and mismanagement. The facts continue to speak for themselves.

In closing I urge Métis people to attend future BC Métis Federation events, we have a vision of a new responsible, accountable Métis government. We need to bring the community and our families at the center and have decision making at the grass roots level. Fundamentally this is the most important difference between MNBC and the BC Métis Federation. MNBC makes decisions behind closed doors where 11 board members and management decide what is best for you. On the other hand BC Métis Federation understands that true Métis governance involves the community. Historically this was the foundation for our fight for self governance and we need to bring this value back to our contemporary representation. Look what the current MNBC system has brought us today? As we say the facts speak for themselves.

The choice is yours.

Thank you,

Keith Henry

British Columbia Métis Federation


[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Letter-to-Metis-People-January-20th-2012-FINAL.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download this letter in PDF format.[/ilink]

[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/Coffee-Talk-Presentation-January-19th-2012-Show.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download the Coffee Talk slide presentation in PDF format.[/ilink]


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