What is this all about? Métis People Do Not Forget

Open letter to all Mètis people in Canada

The BC Metis Federation writes today to all Mètis and friends of the Mètis to address the ongoing and serious issues related to the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC). Over the course of the last few months MNBC has carried on holding Regional Sessions where their staff and leaders have been paid to attend across the province and meet with their MNBC citizenship card holders exclusively and present about the MNBC. This past weekend MNBC met with their members in the Lower Mainland and provided information to create a sense of stability and confidence.

Therefore I feel that it is important to share my perspective on this as the contradictions and deception being perpetrated by the MNBC leadership towards all Métis people who attend these sessions continues to demonstrate the MNBC lack of character and values. I have no issue with MNBC and their membership working together and meeting but my question is do these Métis people themselves not see the smoke and mirror game they are being played?

When MNBC announced these sessions a few months ago BC Métis Federation welcomed the opportunity to attend if invited. BC Métis Federation was prepared to have open dialogue in an effort to ensure the betterment of the Nation for all, not just an exclusive club at MNBC. I wrote to the MNBC board members, as I have done several previous times in the past, to encourage a meeting between our leadership groups. MNBC leaders have deflected these invitations while deliberately misleading their MNBC members that BC Métis Federation is unreasonable. I disagree and in fact when BC Métis Federation held our regional meeting in Surrey in March of 2012 we invited MNBC representatives to attend. Although they choose not to attend, 52 community Mètis community members did and no one was paid, all volunteered. By contrast the recent MNBC session was estimated to have about 45-50 in attendance and roughly 15 where paid MNBC board members and staff.

Despite the MNBC’s bad politics there are fundamental issues I have with the MNBC leaders and staff who are misleading their members, governments, and the public at large. Since 2009 Métis people, myself included, wanted greater MNBC transparency and accountability which were defined by 6 key issues;

1. Improper purchase of a school in 2009
2. Failure of Meet-So catering
3. Overspending on MNBC administration
4. Use of MNBC lawyer to threaten and take legal action against their members
5. Lack of cultural support, and
6. Issues with the MNBC election process.

Today the inability of MNBC leaders to truly address these issues and bring the Nation together has created a new movement through the BC Métis Federation.

The MNBC regional sessions are only serving to prove the BC Métis Federation claims about why a better future is needed for all Métis people. MNBC paid staff are presenting the illusion that MNBC finances are back on track and suddenly they have created a new story about how they are managing and ensuring current funding effectively. I have reattached the BC Métis Federation produced Financial Assessment released in October 2012 after MNBC finally released their financial statements from 2011-2012. We question what information MNBC leaders and staff are presenting about how they will address the current MNBC debt and future debt financing needs? The fact is BC Métis Federation has forecasted the growing MNBC debt accurately and has reached the conclusion that MNBC is no longer financially sustainable. The conclusions are not personal but rather based on facts and strong evidence from MNBC themselves. BC Métis Federation would welcome any opportunity o observe how MNBC staff are presenting the current financial picture and discuss the accuracy of the assessment.

To stress our concerns I have attached a letter from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada that was sent to MNBC last September. MNBC President Dumont had this letter since September 6th via email and you will note MNBC is clearly being reduced in the core funding from AANDC which results in a $38,000.00 loss for MNBC finances of $380,000 to $342,000. In addition AANDC is also reducing project funding to MNBC which is significant because in fiscal year 2011-2012 MNBC received approximately $615,000 in AANDC project funding, excluding Powley funding which was an additional $900,000.00. These AANDC project funds all contribute to the overall MNBC budget of about $12 million each year. What you notice is a reduced funding trend that will seriously impact MNBC’s ability to manage paying their debt financing needs, or reduce their existing organizational debt in this current fiscal year (April 1st – March 31st) and future years. MNBC has allocated most of their organizational debt to their school incorporation but regardless this is owned solely by the MNBC who will in turn be responsible. My question is did MNBC leaders or staff address how they were going to handle the increasing cash flow pressures? These reductions will affect all programming delivered by MNBC. It already is having serious implications because BC Métis Federation has been contacted on several occasions by students and parents who despite having been approved for employment and training support, still have not had their fall 2012 tuition paid. Meanwhile MNBC leaders and staff are clearly prioritizing their cash flow to pay expenses to fund their MNBC public propaganda game and not address real issues.

I realize these issues appear complicated and they are in many ways. What is not complicated in my view is the lack of true MNBC public honesty and transparency. The entire Idle No More movement includes thousands of Métis people from across British Columbia and Canada who are also fed up with governments and leadership such as the MNBC. Their future depends on our strong leadership and MNBC is a terrible example of financial management.
Ironically Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau wrote an article posted yesterday about demanding accountability from your Aboriginal leadership in response to his public fight with Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence. His words contradict what his Conservative Federal Government has done in BC for years now. Métis people have demanded action to address the issues but the Federal Minister and Prime Minister has chosen to ignore the problems. We have demanded accountability and action by AANDC and nothing. In fact when you compare the financial statements of Attawapiskat (available on line) against MNBC’s continues financial loses, MNBC’s records are far worse. Imagine what the greater British Columbian and Canadian public would say if they truly understood the level of mismanagement by MNBC? Senator Brazeau is yet another shameful Federal Government representative lost in the reality of blaming communities when in my view it is the Federal Government who condones and supports these dysfunctional organizations.

I realize everyone has opinion but I encourage you to get informed and read the facts, they just do not lie.

MNBC is all smoke and mirrors and the Federal and Provincial Governments will not do a thing, we need to continue our support with the BC Métis Federation to take control back, it is our Nation and we can decide.

Thank you,
Keith Henry

Enclosure BC Métis Federation Financial Assessment October 2012
AANDC Letter September 6th, 2012
Senator Brazeau Article January 24th

[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Letter-to-Metis-People-January-25th-2013-Metis-Do-Not-Forget.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download this in PDF format.[/ilink]
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/AANDC-Letter-to-MNBC-September-2012.pdf” style=”download”]AANDC Letter to MNBC September 2012[/ilink]
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/Senator-Brazeau-Article-January-2013.pdf” style=”download”]Senator Brazeau Article January 2013[/ilink]
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Metis-Federation-Assessment-of-MNBC-October-2012.pdf” style=”download”]BCMF Metis Federation Assessment of MNBC October 2012[/ilink]

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