Provincial Government Position on MNBC Becoming More Challenging

Honourable Ida Chong
Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Province of British Columbia

Re: MARR Letter November 5th VIA EMAIL

Dear Minister Chong,

The BC Métis Federation writes in response to the latest correspondence provided by Assistant Deputy Minister Peter Cunningham. The response is appreciated but we feel it important to raise some matters to bring to your attention by way of this response.

It appears the current position of the Provincial Government suggests now that MNBC will continue to receive Provincial Government funding so long as deliverables are being met. We question what are the deliverables? It appears your Ministry has provided significant Tripartite Self Government and various governance capacity resources this past fiscal year. We also assume MARR has continued a similar level of funding in this current fiscal year. Yet the deliverables achieved by MNBC to the Mètis people of BC remains absolutely unclear in terms of governance. Despite the MARR investments there was a number of youth, women, and other positions within MNBC that did not even have one candidate during the recent MBC election. Some other examples include the recent MNBC election resulted has serious questions of legitimacy, MNBC has closed operations of the school as of March 31st, 2012, the consolidated MNBC debt increased by $924,000, failure of their MNBC Debt Recovery Plan, and many others.

Attached is a letter from former MARR Minister Honourable Mary Polak who suggested last September 2011 that MNBC was eliminating annual deficit spending in the current fiscal year and beginning to reduce the organizational deficit in future years, if not the current fiscal year. It appears that this was one MARR deliverable as she suggests her officials would be monitoring the situation. As we know today MNBC realized their second largest financial loss ever this past fiscal year despite these statements.

The MNBC ballooning debt is having other major consequences to programs and services as well. We have raised confidential matters of student funding approved by MNBC with that funding source and expect immediate actions. Once again approved MNBC student tuition payments remain outstanding and is placing some students in a very bad situation. Although this is not a MARR responsibility I believe this information must also be taken into serious consideration by all government departments when considering any MNBC funding.

Moreover this week an internal email from MNBC President Dumont sent only two days ago further stresses the point of the financial situation. MNBC is required to have by-elections as a number of their elected positions did not have candidates. Yet he confirms there is no money:

Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 10:19 AM
To: Lissa Smith; Annette Maurice; Daniel & Colleen Pitman; Susie Hooper
Subject: Electoral vacancy Appointment Process

Good morning Lissa, sorry for the delay.
I discovered yesterday afternoon the my sent messages from Sunday were in my outbox so I am re-typing and sending. The Executive Committee will review and respond. The MNBC does not have resources at this time for a by-election to proceed within the 120 days as per the Constitution / Electoral Act. We will discuss this at our Board meeting in December. Resolution 6 should be amended at the MNGA to allow the RGC to make those Regional vacancy appointments with voting privileges with 90 days until such time resources are available for a by-election.
Thank you ~Sent from my BlackBerry® powered by Virgin Mobile.

The irony of this latest statement by MNBC President Dumont is that MNBC representatives just held an internal regional meeting last weekend in Kamloops suggesting everything in the MNBC was fine. Yet  only days later MNBC leadership has no resources to ensure their own required governance is followed. Once must question how much did MNBC spend at their regional session in travel, accommodations, wages, etc. (assume thousands) instead of setting priorities such as paying outstanding MNBC bills? The MNBC priority is to travel around BC as a propaganda campaign and is completely irresponsible. Does this seem like a good deliverable?

We are meeting with MARR representatives in December and we welcome this continued dialogue but the recent MARR response appears unreasonable in our view. The fact is governments have a fiduciary duty to all Mètis people in British Columbia and MNBC does not represent all Mètis people. BC Mètis Federation continues to offer solutions and assert our Section 35 rights, including the right to self governance.

We urge your Ministry and staff to further review these matters and perhaps clarify the MNBC deliverables for BC Mètis Federation and the Mètis public at large considering the significant public investments made by your department. We also assume MARR has continues funding MNBC at similar amounts to the last fiscal year and this is irresponsible. BC Mètis Federation looks forward to moving forward with rebuilding Mètis governance in BC to ensure communities and our Mètis culture receives proper benefit and support. Governments investing millions into a functionally bankrupt organization is not good public policy for Mètis or any other Aboriginal people.

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

cc BCMF Board of Directors
BCMF Members
Peter Cunningham, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Encl. MARR Letter September 8th, 2011
MARR Letter November 5th, 2012

[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Letter-to-Provincial-Government-November-30th-2012.pdf” style=”download”]Download this Letter in PDF[/ilink]
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/MARR-Letter-of-November-5th-2012.pdf” style=”download”]MARR Letter of November 5th, 2012[/ilink]
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/MARR-Letter-September-8th-20112.pdf” style=”download”]MARR Letter September 8th, 2011[/ilink]

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