Special Statement from Acting Vice-President

Taansi, Bonjour and hello! Thank you for tuning in.

My name is Louis De Jaeger, Acting Vice President of Métis Nation British Columbia.

I am speaking with you today from our government’s head office in Surrey, British Columbia, which is located on the traditional territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations.

At a time when we should be celebrating with friends and family during the Christmas Holiday season, the Cabinet of MNBC feels compelled to bring you important information about an organization and group of individuals that threaten to undermine the good work that our government is doing to support the more than 22,000 registered Métis Citizens in BC and the 90,000 self-identified Métis people in our province.

MNBC is deeply concerned to learn that an illegitimate branch of the Manitoba Métis Federation – an MMF-BC chapter – has been established for the singular purpose of disrupting our government and supporting the political aspirations of Manitoba Métis Federation politicians. This new BC branch of the Manitoba Métis Federation threatens our ability to self-govern.

We have just learned of an aggressive and costly proposal designed in the backrooms by deposed former MNBC President Clara Morin Dal Col that would see $650,000 funneled from the Manitoba Métis Federation to this disruptive B.C. MMF faction. This faction includes several disgruntled former MNBC elected officials and former staff members.

In fact, according to documents we have obtained from the provincial government, the Manitoba Métis Federation BC franchise is located in Golden, BC at the home of Dale Drown, former CEO of Métis Nation BC. We will be sharing all of these incorporation documents with you so you can read them for yourselves.

If this rogue group is successful in getting the Manitoba Métis Federation to funnel $650,000 to them… sadly, that means funds earmarked for programs that support our Métis brothers and sisters in Manitoba will be redirected out of that province to prop up and support a deposed past President of Métis Nation British Columbia.  One who’s case against the very Nation that she swore an oath to protect was thrown out by the BC Supreme Court. Her credibility and misuse of funds to directly attack the Regional governments of the Métis Nation is not fair to Métis in Manitoba, to the staff of the Manitoba Métis Federation, or to the dedicated work of our elected government to its citizens in British Columbia.

Section 7.1 of their own bylaws not only permit them to be paid as a director, but also to pay themselves for working for the organization in another capacity. This is an overt attempt to line their own pockets at the expense of Métis people. Make no mistake. This hostile action – done under the guise of doing good for Métis people – is intended to hurt your government in British Columbia – which ultimately hurts you as a Métis citizen living in BC.  At a time when support for our people is needed more now than ever, this action is a disgrace to the Métis Nation broadly. We will not stand for it. That’s why yesterday at an emergency meeting of our Cabinet, a unanimous motion was passed authorizing me to speak out on this troubling issue.

Some context would be helpful to explain why this bizarre encroachment is happening. The Manitoba Métis Federation recently left our national organization – the Métis National Council – just hours before they were to attend a court-ordered general assembly.

If you recall, Manitoba Métis Federation President David Chartrand and his political allies were running the Métis National Council without any input from the other four governing members for almost three years… and our court case forced their hand to make sure the MNC remained accountable to you – our citizens.

But they didn’t go quietly. In the dying days of their control at the MNC, they left behind an organizational and a financial mess. A mess that our new national President Cassidy Caron and the four governing members have been left to clean up. I’ll have more to publicly report on that next week.

Let’s put the pieces together. Having left the MNC, the MMF is encroaching into British Columbia through this hostile action, after falling out with our national organization. B.C. may be the first Province where they attempt this type of coup… but it won’t be the last. MMF won’t stop until they are controlling all Métis governments in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

It gets more interesting. Mr. Chartrand is in cahoots with our deposed past president – Clara Morin Dal Col – who was legally removed from office due to a breach of fiduciary duty. That’s right; she was independently investigated. Recommendations to remove her from office came from esteemed former B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal. And now she’s demanding a salary with funds that should be used to support Métis in another province, Manitoba. To the amount of $90,000. With a senior advisor that demands a salary of $60,000. That is Dale Drown.

You could say that Clara is Chartrand’s ‘right hand man’. Some would argue this role has been played by her for years. And guess what? Ms. Morin Dal Col is now leading Manitoba Métis Federation’s new B.C. chapter. Yet they have no mandate to support Métis in B.C. I’ll say that again: They have no mandate to support any Métis in BC.

It’s embarrassingly clear that Mr. Chartrand is considering doing more special favours for his friends and insiders.

The more you dig, the worse this all smells. These antics undermine our Nation’s collective ability to improve the lives of all Métis citizens. It’s a distraction. And it’s intended to do harm. After Clara’s removal from office, our government made a pledge to be more transparent. To be more accountable. That’s why our cabinet is speaking out today. We believe our people should be informed and enlightened, not left in the dark.

This aggressive action is a blatant attempt to usurp our government, and will set back ongoing efforts to secure rights for Métis living in every region of our province. Sadly, this encroachment will have the unintended consequence of hurting our 21,000 registered citizens who directly rely on us for a wide range of economic, health, educational and cultural supports.

To Ms. Morin Dal Col: I feel compelled to remind you that the MNBC Board of Directors voted to suspend your duties as President of our organization earlier this year due to contraventions of MNBC’s Oath of Office, and for the breach of clearly-defined policies and procedures. Your actions were a disgrace not only to our organization, but to the Métis Nation broadly. Your latest actions lay your character bare.

As a member in good standing of the Métis National Council, signatory to the Canada-Métis Nation Accord, and signatory to a bilateral relationship accord with the Government of British Columbia, we are calling on our citizens to denounce this hostile action by the Manitoba Métis Federation group. Whatever name this B.C. faction wants to call itself, it will be nothing more than a splinter group intended to do political harm, and to prop up David Chartrand’s attempt to overtake our duly elected government in British Columbia. But it’s the Métis people who will suffer. I think we have all suffered enough. Back off Mr. Chartrand. We are a governing member of the Métis National Council, the very organization that you chose not to be part of. We remain committed to working with our Métis governing partners for the good of Métis people across Canada.

Métis Nation British Columbia, under the leadership of our hard-working, democratically-elected Cabinet, is doing more to support our citizens than ever before. By working in partnership with both the provincial and federal governments, MNBC is improving our citizens’ quality of life through culturally-distinct programs in housing, health and education – to name just a few of our ministries.

We are O tipem mi si wak, a proud, self-governing People.

And we are stronger than ever before. Through this newfound strength, we are determined to continue fighting for self-determination. And through this strength, we will succeed. The more than 90,000 Métis people in our province deserve to enjoy the same quality of life as other British Columbians. We will not rest until that vision becomes a reality for us all.

We remain resilient in British Columbia. We will tell our story. We will protect our inherent rights as Indigenous peoples…and we will continue our path to self-governance.

Chi-meegwetch