During the past month, there has been a volley of shots fired back and forth between the Metis National Council and the presidents of the Metis Nation of Ontario, Metis Nation of Alberta, and Metis Nation-Saskatchewan.
MNO, MN-S, and MNA recently gathered in Edmonton for a “historic” tri-council meeting where they passed a resolution calling for “accountability and transparency” from the MNC.
The MNC responded shortly thereafter by announcing the suspension of the MNO, already under a one-year probation period over concerns over a failure to comply with citizenship rules that MNC believes will lead to MNO becoming “the gateway for a new eastern invasion.”
In the background of all of this is an upcoming MNC annual general assembly being held in Winnipeg in April where a new president will be elected after long-time president Clement Chartier announced he will not be seeking re-election.
Will Goodon, the minister of Housing and Property Management for the Manitoba Metis Federation accuses the tri-council, in particular the presidents of Saskatchewan and Alberta of “creating a smoke screen” by talking about accountability and transparency “when they have done very little to work towards moving forward with the Metis Nation.
“What they’re actually doing is allowing the Metis Nation of Ontario to dilute the Metis Nation,” says Goodon.
Despite repeated requests, representatives of MNO, MNA, and MN-S declined or take part in the discussion on InFocus.
For Charlene Lavallee, who is the administrator of Saskatchewan Metis News on social media, this latest round of infighting goes “much further than the issue of supposed citizenship in Ontario.”
Lavallee believes the real issue is “transparency and accountability” pointing to forensic audits and a lack of MNC meetings.
MNC spokesperson David Chartrand believes the current disputes puts the Metis Nation in a difficult position when dealing with the federal government.
Hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding has been rolling in under the Trudeau government for Metis initiatives.
Lavallee says of the MNC, “I think they’re trying to make it embarrassing and they’re trying to make it like ‘oh don’t stand up and say anything because we’re going to get punished and we won’t get anything.’ And this is something that has been going on for 30 years.”
According to Lavallee, “either Mr. Chartier and Mr. Chartrand work for unity and work for everything that they’re supposed to be standing for or they just try and keep it the Clem and David show.”
The Metis National Council will be holding a gathering on Identity, Citizenship and Homeland in Saskatoon on March 9 and 10.