Letter to MNC from Acting President Lissa Smith

Read a PDF version of the statement here.

January 22, 2021 

Dear Métis National Council (MNC), 

The Board of Directors for Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) writes to inform the MNC that we have voted to suspend Clara Morin Dal Col of her duties as President effective January 18, 2021, due to recent contraventions of MNBC’s Oath of Office and a breach of MNBC policies and procedures. 

Pursuant to Article 25 of the MNBC Constitution, a person may be suspended from the Board of Directors with or without pay, by a simple majority vote of the Board: 

“A person may be suspended from being a Board Member of the MNBC, with or without pay, by a vote of the majority of the Members of the MNBC. A person so suspended may appeal the suspension to the Senate whose decision shall be final and binding.” 

Pursuant to Article 26 of the Constitution, Vice-President Lissa Smith is directed to serve as Acting President pending any appeal filed by Ms. Dal Col: 

“Should there no longer be a President of the MNBC pursuant to Article 23 and 25, the Vice-President shall fulfil the Office of the President until a by-election is held to elect a new President in accordance with Article 46.” 

Therefore, per Bylaw 8 of the Métis National Council, the MNBC Board fully expects that as Acting President, I will represent MNBC on the MNC Board of Governors: 

“The Board of Governors shall consist of the Presidents, or designated representative, of each member association and the President of the Métis National Council who shall be the Chief Executive Officer.” 

It is our expectation that the Acting President will have all the voting privileges and powers previously held by Ms. Clara Morin Dal Col until any appeal process with the MNBC Senate is complete. 

MNBC is particularly concerned with the public statement made by the MNC dated January 21, 2021. This statement, including the comments made by President Chartrand and President Chartier, are of questionable accuracy and serve more to soothe the egos of the gentlemen previously mentioned than the shared goals and aspirations of the Métis Nation. 

MNBC has a homegrown Constitution that was drafted and approved by our Citizens in 2003, and is the guiding document in our democracy. The actions that were undertaken in Ms. Dal Col’s suspension are, as previously mentioned, clearly articulated in the MNBC Constitution. By suggesting that actions clearly written in our Constitution, approved by our Citizens, are inherently undemocratic, “unwarranted, and without merit” are baffling. As much as President Chartrand and President Chartier wish to frame the circumstances regarding Ms. Dal Col’s suspension to their political benefit, the conclusions given by these gentlemen in no way resemble the reasons for suspension that were voted on by the duly elected MNBC Board of Directors. MNBC is not a vassal state of the MNC—you cannot decide who represents us. 

It must also be noted that Ms. Dal Col has not been removed from her position as MNBC President, but rather has been suspended with pay. As stated in Article 25 of the MNBC Constitution, Ms. Dal Col is entitled to submit an appeal of her suspension to the MNBC Senate, and the decision of the Senate will be final and binding. 

Of further concern is the reactionary decision by Presidents Chartrand and Chartier to willfully ignore the MNC Bylaws and refuse to recognize MNBC’s designated representative on the MNC Board of Governors. MNBC greatly doubts that this decision was brought before the MNC Board of Governors for consideration and is rather the unilateral decision by both gentlemen. Papal bulls are not the actions of a healthy, functioning democracy, and, as such, cannot be reasonably recognized as duly authorized by the MNC Board of Governors. You will not usurp our democracy, and our Citizens take great offence to any meddling in our internal affairs. 

MNBC is a Governing Member that is equal in stature to the other members that comprise the Métis Nation, and as an independent government, is free and entitled to discharge internal political affairs with the expectation of non-interference from the other governing members of the Métis Nation., such as the MMF, will not interfere. MNBC is an autonomous government. 

While we respect that Presidents Chartrand and Chartier have strong opinions on the circumstances that have unfolded, and are entitled to said opinions, the inflammatory rhetoric and partial truths in the statement given by the MNC will not result in further unity of purpose for the Métis Nation and offends the fundamental rule of law. 

Finally, on behalf of the MNBC Board of Directors, I wish to reiterate our commitment to the MNC National Definition of Métis, as adopted by the MNC General Assembly in 2002: 

“Métis” means a person who self-identifies as Métis, is distinct from other Aboriginal peoples, is of historic Métis Nation Ancestry and who is accepted by the Métis Nation.” 

Maarsi/All my relations, 

Lissa Smith, on behalf of the MNBC Board of Directors 

Acting President MNBC 

Read the full PDF here.