OTTAWA, Jan. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - The majority of the members of the Métis
National Council (MNC) Board of Governors, consisting of the Métis Nation of
British Columbia (MNBC) President Bruce Dumont, Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA)
President Audrey Poitras, Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S) President Robert
Doucette and Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Tony Belcourt want to set
the record straight on what occurred as a result of a Settlement Conference
held before Métis Justice Todd Ducharme in Toronto on January 3, 2008. Justice
Ducharme gave effect to the terms of that Settlement Agreement on January 14,
2008 at the request of all Parties.
The Settlement Conference, which was not a judicial hearing, was
requested by Presidents Dumont, Poitras, Doucette and Belcourt in an attempt
to avoid having key questions of Metis Governance decided in the Courts, as
was the preference of Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) President David
Chartrand and Past MNC President Clem Chartier. Although both Chartrand and
Chartier opposed having the Settlement Conference due to their preference for
using the Courts, Presidents Dumont, Poitras, Doucette and Belcourt believed
in Metis self governance and pressed the Court to order a Settlement
Conference rather than litigation, a request that was granted.
In a joint statement Presidents Dumont, Poitras, Doucette and Belcourt
said "We were disappointed that Clem Chartier and David Chartrand were opposed
to resolving this matter within the Metis Nation rather than through the
Courts. We pressed hard to have the critical matter of democratic elections
within the MNC dealt with by the Metis people and not the Courts. We were
pleased that the Court shared our concern and ordered the Settlement
Conference. We are also very pleased that we were able to recommence the
General Assembly by working within the Metis Nation rather than through the
Courts. Our efforts to settle this within the Metis Nation have resulted in
another step forward for the Metis Nation and Metis self governance."
Contrary to the inaccurate statements by MMF President Chartrand and
former MNC President Chartier, the Settlement Conference resulted in an
Agreement between the "Parties", not a court ruling, and was rendered as a
"Consent Order" because it was requested by the "Parties": the "Plaintiffs"
who brought the action (Chartrand and Chartier); and the "Defendants" (Dumont,
Poitras, Doucette, Belcourt and the Metis National Council). At the insistence
of Presidents Dumont, Poitras, Doucette and Belcourt the Agreement included
fixing the delegate list for the next General Assembly so as to avoid the
issue that was used by Chartrand to disrupt the last General Assembly. It must
also be noted and clearly understood that this Agreement was reached in
discussion between the Parties themselves without involvement of anyone else
including another potential delegates from Alberta and Manitoba who are not
named on the Delegate list.
While Presidents Dumont, Poitras, Doucette and Belcourt all reiterated
that they are very pleased that their out-of-court settlement both preserved
the principle of Metis Self Governance and allows the MNC Assembly to proceed
with certainty, not all issues were dealt with by the Agreement. Three key
issues remain before the court and are not part of the Settlement Agreement.
There is no agreement to reinstate Clem Chartier as MNC President. Still to be
dealt with by the courts are the issue of costs and damages. Court costs to
date for both parties are in excess of an estimated $350,000. Chartier and
Chartrand are claiming their costs against the defendants, including the MNC.
Also outstanding is the claim of $300,000 in damages by Clem Chartier against
The full text of the Settlement Agreement as given effect through the
"Consent Order", which was by the consent of all Parties, and includes the
agenda and list of delegates to the MNC AGA., is available on the following
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) 798-1488 or (613) 859-7130 (cell)