Request to Address Mètis Governance Across Canada

Letter sent Earlier today….

Dear Minister Valcourt,

BC Metis Federation writes to continue to raise our deep disappointment with the lack of action by the Federal Government, through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), to address the ongoing calls for significant Métis governance and program reform in the interests of all Métis across this country.

In the latest negative media stories in several outlets throughout Canada last week Métis people once again were informed about the financial mismanagement and audit issues related to the Métis National Council (MNC). Métis people and all Canadians were made aware of questionable audit results regarding the MNC in a report reviewing expenditures between 2008-2011. However despite signing of a new accountability framework by MNC with AANDC last April 2013 none of MNC’s financial audit information or issues has been made aware to the Métis public.

In another separate media news release last week Métis people in Saskatchewan were once again in the negative spotlight when the courts determined current Métis Nation of Saskatchewan (MN-S) President Robert Doucette contravened MN-S bylaws and legislation through illegal meetings in 2013.

In light of these and several other developments we have brought to the attention of AANDC in the past, BC Métis Federation is urging immediate and drastic action. The MNC and their governing members do not represent all Métis people in Canada and the funding that flows to these nonprofit organizations is not in the Métis public’s collective interest. We are aware that AANDC is entering a new fiscal year and we hope you as Minister will take steps to seriously reconsider all funding provided to MNC and their governing members as well as enter into new discussions and negotiations with Métis people across Canada.

I have had discussions with AANDC officials as late as December 2013 inquiring as to the process of Powley and other governance funding for registries. AANDC officials assured follow up and today not a single call has been made despite commitments. Why would AANDC officials not respond to the needs of all Métis people?

We are also deeply disappointed that the Senate Report on Métis Identification and the major recommendations; including the need for AANDC to enter into immediate negotiations with Métis organizations who represent legitimate Métis constituents, continues to be ignored. BC Métis Federation represents the interests and concerns of several thousand Métis and our optimism felt when the Senate Report was released last June 2013 has turned to frustration and disappointment.

BC Métis Federation continues to request an opportunity to meet with an objective of constructive dialogue. We continue to request a meeting with yourself as Minister and your officials in order to establish a new relationship that focuses on future cultural and economic outcomes. The lack of meaningful engagement and consultation by AANDC is contributing to the overall loss of our culture and self governing inherent rights. The current process with MNC and a number of their governing members is all about fighting their own insolvency, or enacting ill conceived notions of “supreme authority”, and maintaining status quo, which must not be acceptable for the betterment of Métis people across Canada. These leaders have forgotten who the large majority of our Métis people and their needs.

The most recent media coverage should reinforce AANDC about the increasing risks of investment of public funds into Métis organizations that have repeatedly proven that they are incapable of meeting their fiduciary obligations.

I am requesting a meeting and response at your earliest convenience.

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

cc Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister, Government of Canada
Premier Christy Clark, Province of British Columbia
Honourable John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Honourable Doug Donaldson, Critic for Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Federal Liberal Aboriginal Affairs Critic
Honourable Jean Crowder, NDP Aboriginal Affairs Critic
BC Métis Federation Board Members
BC Métis Federation Members

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