Metis Nation of Ontario Deplores Events Leading to Failure to Elect a National President and Return to the Courts



    OTTAWA, Oct. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - The Métis National Council's (MNC) General
Assembly ended on Sunday, October 14, 2007 without electing a National
President and the fate of the MNC now referred back to the courts. Métis
Nation of Ontario (MNO) President, Tony Belcourt called the situation
deplorable and avoidable.
    "The Executive of the Métis Nation of Ontario worked tirelessly to ensure
that we could hold a fair and democratic election for President of the Métis
National Council at our Assembly last weekend", Mr. Belcourt said. "We were on
the verge of finally being able to hold a vote to determine the final list of
voting delegates, but our meeting was ended so that this decision would be
referred back to the courts. We were shocked and dismayed at this decision
because if we had taken a critical vote on the motion on the floor at the
time, we would have fulfilled our responsibilities to name a National
President and we would be in the position of being able to get on with
business. We are concerned at the very future, of the Métis National Council
itself."
    The court ordered on September 17, 2007, that the MNC hold a General
Assembly in Ottawa to elect a President. The Court ordered that: no person act
as President until the elections, to be held Oct. 13th and 14th; that there be
no meetings of the Board of Governors; and that MNC Chief Administrative
Officer, Dale LeClair, run the day-to-day operations of the MNC until the
holding of the election. The Court further ordered that Mr. LeClair would act
as Chair of the General Assembly until the election of a President. The order
is in effect until the person elected as President takes office.
    Following a day and a half of debate over an issue concerning voting
delegates, the Chair declared the meeting adjourned and that he was referring
the question of delegate status to the Courts. On Saturday, October 13, 2007,
the President of the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF), David Chartrand, tabled
a motion to remove and replace the names of an entire delegation of a
Governing Member of the MNC. This is the first time in MNC history that a
Governing members' voting credentials have been challenged. The question of
who could vote on this motion became a hotly contested issue.
    The Chair initially ruled at the close of business on Saturday (October
13, 2007) that none of the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) delegates named in
the motion, could vote on the motion. Métis Nation of Ontario President, Tony
Belcourt, challenged the decision on the basis that it violated the court
order that specified that Alberta, as a founding member of the MNC would have
15 voting delegates and that if violated the MNC By-Laws which state "At all
meetings of members, each member shall be represented by the President". The
Chair closed the meeting shortly thereafter without a decision on his
challenge taking place. The Chair asked for written opinions on his ruling and
stated that he would reflect on the day's events and announce his position
when the meeting resumed on the next morning.
    At the resumption of business Sunday (October 14, 2007), the Chair
reversed his earlier decision and declared that seven of the 15 MNA delegates
named at roll call could vote on the MMF motion because the MMF motion both
sought to remove and then replace these very same seven people. The ruling was
because the credentials of those seven delegates were not an issue. Mr.
Chartrand immediately objected to this ruling and sought an adjournment so
that he could caucus with his delegates and seek legal advice. Following the
return to the meeting, further discussion took place and members of all
delegations except those of Manitoba loudly called for question on the MMF
motion. Rather than putting the motion to a vote the Chair then announced that
he was referring the matter back to the Court.
    Without the presence of the court-appointed Chair, the meeting ended in
complete disarray. The delegations from the MNA, the Métis Nation British
Columbia (MNBC) and the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) remained in the Assembly
room for further discussion. They were then re-joined by the President of the
Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MNS) and other members of the MNS delegation for
the closing discussion. The representatives of these four of the five
governing members of the MNC then spoke of their commitment to work
cooperatively on matters of mutual national concern in spite of the apparent
impasse within the Métis National Council.
    "We are very concerned that the future of the Métis National Council is
now uncertain," said Belcourt. "It is not clear at this time how the courts
will deal with this matter. The Board of Governors, by Court Order, cannot
meet. We are very concerned with the future livelihood of the staff and the
financial commitments the MNC has made to its creditors. The MNO remains
committed to the Métis National Council and its future well-being. We deeply
regret, however, that circumstances are such that for the time being, we are
powerless to act."




For further information:

For further information: please see the MNO website at:
www.metisnation.org Or Contact: Chelsey Quirk, Communications Assistant, Work:
(613) 798-1488 Ext. 104, Cell: (613) 299-6085, chelseyq@metisnation.org


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890