Metis nations in Saskatchewan, Alberta supporting MNC in legal action

Métis Nations

The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) is coming out in support of Métis National Council’s (MNC) legal action against the former administration including former president Clément Chartier.

Last week, the MNC filed a statement of claim in Ontario Superior Court against Chartier, current Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) President David Chartrand, the MMF itself, former MNC official Wenda Watteyne and several consultants and staff associated with the organization.

MNA President, Audrey Poitras, says nothing is more important to her than ensuring citizens can trust their leaders.

“As a governing and founding member of MNC, the Métis Nation of Alberta fully supports President Caron and the MNC Board of Governors’ decision to take action,” she said in a statement released this morning.

“We are obligated to do what is right and necessary to restore accountability, transparency, and integrity to the MNC by moving forward with this litigation with a view to ensuring transparency and accountability and holding individuals responsible for their actions.”

Poitras told APTN News in an interview that she has previously raised questions about MNC’s finances and agreements.

“So this is not new. It’s in the statement though. It’s there.” She said, “We are all, as the governing board of governors, the governing members, supporting our new national president in taking these actions and calling people on their actions.”

Read More: 

Chartrand, Chartier, MMF named in multi-million dollar lawsuit by Métis National Council for ‘scorched earth policy scheme’

According to MNC President Cassidy Caron, the legal action came after a thorough review following last fall’s election.

Chartier led the MNC as president from 2003 before resigning in 2021. Chartrand has been involved with the MNC since 1997 in various forms. He also left the organization in 2021.

After Chartier left the MNC in September 2021, it was announced that he was hired by the MMF to act as the ambassador on international and inter-nation relationships for a “new government” the MMF was forming.

Current MNC President Cassidy Caron, who was elected in September 2021, posted on Facebook that the claim was filed after an extensive review of the organization.

“MNC’s claims arise from a scheme perpetrated by each of Chartier, Chartrand, MMF and Watteyne in the Province of Ontario to intentionally cause severe financial harm and other injury to MNC, and to correspondingly benefit, among others, themselves, upon their departures from MNC in the summer of 2021,” says the statement of claim filed in an Ontario court Thursday.

“For many years, each of Chartier, Chartrand and Watteyne were in de facto control of MNC’s affairs,” the statement of claim says. “During a COVID pandemic that arose in early 2020 and remained throughout 2021, Chartier, Chartrand and Watteyne were able to exploit that control and thereby conduct MNC’s affairs in breach of their statutory and common law duties, and in contravention of MNC’s bylaws, customs, policies and practices, which were designed to provide checks and balances and to safeguard MNC’s rights, interests and stakeholders.”

The MNC is claiming that Chartier, Chartrand, MMF and Watteyen “breached their fiduciary duty” and “unlawfully conspired” against the MNC prior to their departure.

The claim alleges “the purported assignment of the Metis Veterans Recognition Payment Contribution Agreement between MNC and Her Majesty in Right of Canada… from MNC to the defendant, Manitoba Metis Federation Inc. carrying on business as Manitoba Metis Federation, including the transfer to MMF and conversion of approximately $9 million dollars in trust funds advanced by the Canadian government.”

Métis Nation-Saskatchewan issued a similar statement late last week to the one sent by Poitras.

“The Métis Nation is built on accountability, transparency and good governance,” said President Glen McCallum.  “The allegations of questionable financial practices and unaccountable government leadership contained in the Statement of Claim are distressing.”

The MN-S says it fully supports and MNC and Caron in filing the claim.

None of the allegations have been tested in court.

The MNC elected Caron last September after Chartier stepped down and the 29-year old Caron is the first woman to be elected president. She has roots in the historic Métis communities of Batoche and St. Louis, Sask.

There have been no Statements of Defence filed yet by any of the defendants. Multiple interview requests to the defendants have not been returned.

Last week, the Manitoba Metis Federation strongly denied the allegations saying, “We can immediately see that the claim is an act of vindictiveness and an attempt to cause harm to the reputation of the MMF and President Chartrand, and MNC past-President Clement Chartier. It is clear that many of the statements and claims made have no basis in law or factual accuracy,” said MMF spokesperson Kat Patenaude in a statement to APTN.

“This action is disappointing but not surprising, and the claims made utterly ignore the fact that the MNC was left in a surplus state by past-President Clement Chartier and Minister of Finance David Chartrand. It is unfortunate that this is one of the first acts the MNC has chosen in spending that surplus, rather than funneling funds to the Citizens who rely on programs and services. We look forward to having the details and actual facts brought forward on public record.”

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