The Metis governments of Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta deny they are leaving the Metis National Council despite a report that they are and regardless of the turmoil within Metis Nation that has festered for more than a year.
“We remain a governing member of the MNC, as do the governments of Métis Nation-Saskatchewan and Métis Nation of Alberta, in spite of continued governance issues surrounding the MNC,” said MNO President Margaret Froh in a statement to Nation to Nation.
The group of three governments are a coalition within the MNC known as the tri-council. They all appeared on N2N last March.
Earlier this week, a minister with Manitoba Metis Federation posted on Facebook it appeared the group was leaving the MNC.
“So it appears that MNA, MNS & MNO have left Métis National Council. They have started a new org called TriCouncil. They have sent several letters to Canada saying they represent themselves & do not participate in MNC,” wrote Will Goodon, minister of housing and property management with MMF, on his Facebook on Nov. 17.
Goodon provided N2N two recent letters from Clement Chartier, the current, but out-going, president of the MNC.
The letters certainly suggest the tri-council is working with the federal government, which has been the case for months.
“We remain at an impasse on governance at the Métis National Council. I have made repeated attempts without success to hold a board of governors meeting to set the date for a general assembly and election of a new national president. Board members from Saskatchewan and Alberta refuse to attend without the participation of the suspended member from Ontario,” Chartier wrote the MNC board of governors, including Froh, in a letter on Nov. 17
“Moreover, they have joined with the MNO president in a new organization, the tri council, that attacks and seeks to undermine the MNC, repeatedly alleging that the MNC has been avoiding a board meeting for more than two years.”
The tri-council was also formed about a year ago. It had a “historic” meeting in January.
Historic has become a sticking point.
The MNC says it suspended the MNO more than a year ago.
MMF President David Chartrand said on N2N Thursday the dispute is about who is historically known to the Metis Nation and not what the MNO defines as historic. He called it trickery.
It’s led to a stalemate within Metis Nation delaying an election for the next president to replace Chartier, who has publicly stated he is retiring once replaced.
Chartrand also said the tri-council has the electoral votes, from Alberta and Saskatchewan alone, to win the next election, yet doesn’t push for one. He suspects it stems from a lack of support at grassroots level.
He said this has left the tri-council to live in two worlds.
“We have the tri-council that is trying to have their foot in both sides. They have attempted to create this new body but they are not getting the support of the people,” said Chartrand.
Chartrand addresses many issues within Metis Nation and why there’s a divide, from his perspective. He also has something to say about the premier of Manitoba.
Froh has confirmed to be on N2N next week to provide her perspective.
Catch the full episode below, including an interview with Conservative MP Gary Vidal, who, as critic of Indigenous Services, provides his thoughts on a number of issues.