Thursday, October 25, 2007

Is the Manitoba Metis Federation next?

Ottawa Cuts Off Funding Talks With Metis Council
(CP) Thursday, October 25, 2007

OTTAWA—The Métis National Council’s future is in doubt after the federal government cut off new funding talks amid a nasty leadership dispute.

Indian Affairs minister Chuck Strahl said yesterday his department “cannot enter into any new funding arrangements” with the Council “until it is able to comply with the court order of electing a new national president.”

Ottawa, in the meantime, will honour existing funding deals, Strahl said in a statement. These include a $10-million program to train Métis health workers through to 2010.

"This is a difficult moment in the proud history of the Métis National Council,” Strahl said. “We urge the leadership to resolve these internal matters for the benefit of the broader Metis community.

The Council says there are 350,000-400,000 Métis in Canada.

An assembly earlier this month to choose a new president unravelled when the voting eligibility of delegates from Alberta was challenged by participants from Manitoba leaving the Council without an elected leader.

The long-running dispute involves a maze of finger-pointing and procedural wrangling.

Tensions had been simmering since July when four of the five regional leaders who comprise the Métis Board of Governors from Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan banded together to oust national president Clement Chartier.

At issue was the extension of Chartier’s three-year term just as it was expiring in October, 2006.

The move was made to stabilize the Council amid allegations of Métis electoral impropriety in Saskatchewan that have seen three people convicted so far. Once related concerns about Saskatchewan’s representation were settled, the national Board of Governors held the now infamous July meeting.

Its first order of business: a motion to terminate Chartier’s leadership which his political foes say was never properly extended.

Only David Chartrand, Manitoba Métis Federation leader, challenged what he described as a pre-planned coup.

He and Chartier went to court, arguing that the Board of Governors overstepped its authority in naming an interim president something they say only the Métis assembly of 55 elected delegates can do.

Both sides claim to be defending basic democratic principles.

Some insiders say the embarrassing situation has more to do with ego clashes and the desire for more regional control over multi-million-dollar programs.

An Ontario Superior Court order placed the day-to-day operations of the Métis National Council under the direction of chief administrative officer Dale LeClair, who also oversaw the failed general assembly.

The situation is now dire, he says.

“Without a functioning, working Board of Governors, we . . . don’t have a working mandate,” LeClair said in an interview.“

"I’m going to have to make the decision at what point in time do we get down to a skeleton crew and lay off workers.”

LeClair said more than $2.4 million in future operational and program funds are immediately at stake, but existing funding deals will be honoured by Ottawa.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a travesty! How will Murray Tracktenbverg get paid for his long hours of work harassing an bothering Yvon Dumont? This totally sucks; it's always the innocent who suffer.

10:20 AM  

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