Statement from Acting President Lissa Smith

It has been over a week since the Board of Directors of Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) voted to suspend Clara Morin Dal Col as President, effective January 18, 2021. Today I wanted to provide an update, and let you know that like any level of government, whether it be federal, provincial or municipal, your Board of Directors takes governance issues seriously and does not take suspension lightly.  

Unfortunately, after contraventions of her Oath of Office, breaching board confidentiality, and bringing the reputation of MNBC into disrepute, we had no other choice but to vote to suspend Ms. Morin Dal Col. Our priority as a board must always be to serve and protect our citizens, as well as our Métis government here in British Columbia. As many of you know, advancing Métis self-government is a critically important process for our citizens and protecting it is paramount. This includes holding our elected representatives to account, which is exactly what we were forced to do on January 18.  

While the suspension has raised some concerns in our community, I want to assure you that the board’s decision was both legal and constitutional. At the same time, our self-government model affords an open and transparent appeal process through our independent Senate. As such, we have followed our constitutional and governance responsibilities to British Columbia’s Métis citizens, and the process in place will now have the opportunity to run its course through to conclusion.  

I have had the privilege of serving on the MNBC board for 14 years. Throughout that time, I have travelled all across BC, meeting many of you at gatherings and events in every corner of this province. I want to assure you that the day-to-day operation and work of MNBC and its board continues, and we all remain committed to the programs and services that help build our community and its citizens.  

Important programs and services our Citizens rely on continue as usual and I have been in contact with our CEO, Daniel Fontaine, who has given me full confidence to say that the good work of MNBC continues. At the same time, Daniel has updated me on a number of exciting initiatives that are currently in the works, with anticipated announcements coming over the next few weeks as we move towards our annual general meeting in February.  

I am continually impressed by the professionalism of our MNBC staff and the ongoing commitment of our board. Like governments around the world, MNBC has found innovative ways to meet the needs of our people during the COVID pandemic, ensuring that Métis citizens here in British Columbia are in good and caring hands.   

Finally, like you, I know the tremendous value of Métis self-government, as well as our constitution and traditions that underpin our Nation and rely on our confidence as citizens.   

I look forward to our upcoming annual meeting and the chance to highlight the exciting year ahead for our people and nation. 

Lissa Dawn Smith

Acting President, MNBC

On Behalf of the MNBC Board of Directors