MNC President Elections Put Off Indefinitely - Métis Leaders Deplore Legal Action by Former MNC President and MMF President

    SASKATOON, Sept. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - The leaders of four of the five
governing members of the Métis National Council (MNC) condemn the actions of
Past MNC President Clem Chartier and MMF President David Chartrand to have the
courts intervene in the affairs of the MNC and to de-rail the holding of the
elections for MNC President which were scheduled for October 12-13, 2007.
    Defending the MNC in the court action are the following four governing
members: Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) President, Bruce Dumont; Métis
Nation of Alberta (MNA) President, Audrey Poitras; Métis Nation - Saskatchewan
(MN-S) President, Robert Doucette; Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President,
Tony Belcourt.
    Today, the Ontario Superior Court approved the extension of an order
requested by Mr. Chartier and Mr. Chartrand as follows:

    - There shall be no MNC Annual General Assembly until further order by
      the court;
    - There shall be no meetings of the Board of Governors or business
      conducted by the Board of Governors until further order by the court;
    - The Chief Administrative Officer, Dale LeClair, shall run the day-to-
      day operations of the MNC "only as the need arises".

    Both Mr. Chartier and Mr. Chartrand have abandoned the MNC's own bylaws,
and have instead asked the court system to intervene in the affairs of the MNC
by indefinitely postponing the MNC Presidential elections scheduled for this
October. The order was granted to examine witnesses and hold hearings on a
further order requested by Mr. Chartier and Mr. Chartrand that would have the
court identify who will be the delegates to the MNC Assembly.
    "The elections for MNC President are nearly one year overdue. The Board
of Governors maintains that the Office of the MNC President was vacant. I am
astonished that the former MNC President and MMF President would take this
action to further delay the MNC elections and cause this uncertainty to
continue. In accordance with the MNC By-laws I was appointed as the Interim
President in July by the majority of the MNC Board of Governors to ensure that
we maintain our position of self governance to address this vacancy", MNBC
President Bruce Dumont said.
    "It is a fundamental principle that he MNC must never interfere in the
affairs of its governing members and here we have the Past President and the
MMF President asking a court to do that very thing - by asking the court to
determine who would be the MNA's delegates to the MNC Assembly. This has
always been the sole right of each Province to decide", Métis Nation of
Alberta (MNA) President Audrey Poitras said. "I am appalled that rather than
following our by-laws, Mr. Chartier and Mr. Chartrand are in effect asking the
courts to intervene and to, de-facto, amend our by-laws", Ms. Poitras added.
    "The right of our people to run their own affairs and to choose their own
leaders has never been a question in Saskatchewan. To see a Past National
President of the MNC going to the courts to have them take over our decision
making process just sickens me", said MN-S President Robert Doucette. "I want
it to be clear that we are the ones who must defend the Métis National Council
against this attack on our rights as a Nation and as a people", Mr. Doucette
    "It is extremely ironic to me that the Métis National Council has fought
long and hard for nearly two decades to have our inherent right of
self-determination and our right of self-government adopted as a 'minimum
standard' of our human rights by the United Nations and on the eve of the
historic vote to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
our past president has asked a court to determine our rights and to identify
who can cast a ballot in our national election. I am shocked and completely
dismayed by this contradictory and irresponsible action", said MNO President
Tony Belcourt.
    The four leaders are also surprised and deeply upset at the apparent lack
of concern or responsibility over the costs of the actions that are being
taken by Mr. Chartier and Mr. Chartrand. It is estimated that the court costs
could escalate to over $100,000 for the MNC alone. Without their actions,
elections for President according to the Métis Nation's own laws, would take
place in one month, by a decision of the Métis people, not under the control
of the courts.

For further information:

For further information: Bruce Dumont, MNBC, (604) 219-0157; Audrey
Poitras, MNA, (780) 490-8188, Robert Doucette, MN-S, (306) 343-8285; Tony
Belcourt, MNO, (613) 791-5056

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