Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Is Someone Keeping Count?

Let us take a tally of the actions:

The first lawsuit that David and Clem filed cost the Métis people – the Canadian Taxpayers through Federal Resources in excess of $90,000 as was reported by one of the Board of Governors. The court injunction said the Board of Govorners was not allowed to meet until an election was hosted for the President. The election was slated for mid October. David Chartrand could not count on getting Clem elected with the voting delegates at the assembly so he phyla-busted the meeting and we went back to square one. No election, no leader, no direction, no meeting and we are in worst shape then ever. Government says no money – in fact they are getting very nervous under their accountability measures at the Federal dollars being used in vexatious lawsuits which do not meet the stink test for the contribution agreements that have been signed by MNC. We have to lay off staff and have only a couple of people wrapping up remaining agreements.

There was more credit extended to pay the staff out the severance, holiday pay and overtime commitments that they had. But now I need to ask – Did David and Clem come into a new win fall? – They have filed another frivolous law suit that is requesting that the court put Clem in without the election meeting because it is detrimental to the organization not to have a President. (Please remember David claims he is doing this for democracy - now democracy is the Federal courts selecting our president for us!) The lawsuit is against the Métis National Council and the four other governing members. We do take note that David Chartrand has not bothered to send out a press release about more government dollars being used for this ongoing battle.

Detrimental to the Métis National Council – I would say that David and Clem are detrimental. How detrimental can you get when ongoing spending is only to garner more legal action against each other? – Where will the MNC get the money to keep Clem’s salary and outrageous expenses paid for – considering they laid off the staff three weeks ago? Detrimental to the nation is unanswered financial questions that Clem and David have yet to answer for. Detrimental is that they have not had an annual general assembly to account for their actions in over two years.

David indicated in a press release that had him quoted as saying, “The MMF is a small government with few resources. Manitoba intends to make this a battle of attrition. The government is trying to bleed us dry in the courts.” He also asked that, “I ask that Premier Doer bring his government’s harassment and persecution of Metis harvesters to an end,” said President Chartrand. “If he does not bring his government's regime of fear to a halt, it will not only cost Manitoba millions in wasted taxpayers’ dollars, it will also have immeasurable long term impacts on the Metis community.”

Now let's evaluate David’s own words – the MMF has few resources and is being bled dry in the courts – now who is responsible for bleeding us dry? It is hard to keep track but we have Yvon Dumont (he lost this one but is trying to appeal); we have the next action against Cybersmoke; then we have the him suing the other governing members of the Métis National Council. (Common theme – we sue our people and even though we have few resources – we keep suing our people.) So I must think his words mean our Métis government is bleeding us dry in courts and even if there are no results the lawyers get rich with this foolishness.

Now if we ask him what he asked of Premier Gary Doer – stop wasting tax payers dollars – do you think he will quit – even though in his words it will have immeasurable long term impacts on the Métis community? Things that make you go hmmmmm… Hypocrisy is alive and well with our Métis leader in MMF.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Time to Remember

November 16 marks the anniversary of the death of Louis Riel. It is the time where Métis people take a moment to remind themselves of their past leader who lived, walked, talked and died for his people. Riel believed he was a prophet for his people and continued on his vision. Some tried to portray his as crazy but even in his own record of writings he was a man of great vision.

Today we along with many Canadians acknowledge him as the founder of the Province of Manitoba and defender of the rights of the Métis and of French Canadians.

During his last days at his trial he was allowed to address the jury and he first spoke to God and thanked him for blessings for everyone in the court, including the prosecutors. He then shared the plight of the Aboriginal people: “When I came into the North West in July, the first of July 1884, I found the Indians suffering. I found the half-breeds eating the rotten pork of the Hudson Bay Company and getting sick and weak every day. Although a half breed, and having no pretension to help the whites, I also paid attention to them. I saw they were deprived of responsible government, I saw that they were deprived of their public liberties. I remembered that half-breed meant white and Indian, and while I paid attention to the suffering Indians and the half-breeds I remembered that the greatest part of my heart and blood was white and I have directed my attention to help the Indians, to help the half-breeds and to help the whites to the best of my ability.”

“… I have made petitions with others to the Canadian Government asking to relieve the condition of this country. We have taken time; we have tried to unite all classes, even if I may speak, all parties. Those who have been in close communication with me know I have suffered, that I have waited for months to bring some of the people of the Saskatchewan to an understanding of certain important points in our petition to the Canadian Government and I have done my duty. I believe I have done my duty. It has been said in this box that I have been egotistic. Perhaps I am egotistic. A man cannot be individuality without paying attention to himself. He cannot generalize himself, though he may be general. I have done all I could to make good petitions with others, and we have sent them to the Canadian Government, and when the Canadian Government did answer, through the Under Secretary of State, to the secretary of the joint committee of the Saskatchewan, then I began to speak of myself, not before; so my particular interests passed after the public interests.”

“...If I was a man of today perhaps it would be presumptuous to speak in that way, but the truth is good to say, and it is said in a proper manner, and it is without any presumption, it is not because I have been libeled for fifteen years that I do not believe myself something. I know that through the grace of God I am the founder of Manitoba. I know that though I have no open road for my influence, I have big influence, concentrated as a big amount of vapour in an engine. I believe by what I suffered for fifteen years, by what I have done for Manitoba and the people of the North-West, that my words are worth something. If I give offence, I do not speak to insult. Yes, you are the pioneers of civilization, the whites are the pioneers of civilization, but they bring among the Indians demoralization.”

“…If I have any influence in the new world it is to help in that way and even if it takes 200 years to become practical, then after my death that will bring out practical results, and then my children's children will shake hands with the Protestants of the new world in a friendly manner. I do not wish these evils which exist in Europe to be continued, as much as I can influence it, among the half-breeds. I do not wish that to be repeated in America. That work is not the work of some days or some years, it is the work of hundreds of years.”

“…I am glad that the Crown have proved that I am the leader of the half-breeds in the North-West. I will perhaps be one day acknowledged as more than a leader of the half-breeds, and if I am I will have an opportunity of being acknowledged as a leader of good in this great country. “

“…while I am working more than any representative in the North-West. Although I am simply a guest of this country - a guest of the half-breeds of the Saskatchewan - although as a simple guest, I worked to better the condition of the people of the Saskatchewan at the risk of my life, … to better the condition of the people of the North-West, I have never had any pay. It has always been my hope to have a fair living one day. It will be for you to pronounce - if you say I was right, you can conscientiously acquit me, as I hope through the help of God you will. You will console those who have been fifteen years around me only partaking in my sufferings. What you will do in justice to me, in justice to my family, in justice to my friends, in justice to the North-West, will be rendered a hundred times to you in this world, and to use a sacred expression, life everlasting in the other. “

“…the half-breeds of the North-West would have made conditions of a nature to preserve for our children that liberty, that possession of the soil, without which there is no happiness for anyone; but fifteen years of suffering, impoverishment and underhand, malignant persecution have opened our eyes; and the sight of the abyss of demoralization into which the Dominion is daily plunging us deeper and deeper every day, has suddenly, by God's mercy as it were, stricken us with horror. And the half-breed people are more afraid of the hell into which the Mounted Police and their Government are openly seeking to drive us, than of their firearms, which, after all, can only kill our bodies. Our alarmed conscience have shouted out to us: Justice commands us take up arms. Dear relatives and friends, we advise you to pay attention. Be ready for everything. Take the Indians with you.”

Though his writings were set 122 years ago they are just as profound today. To see his commitment to return people through uniting them, fighting for the rights of our people and sacrificing himself in poverty, family and life’s benefits to fight for the cause he believed in. He eventually paid the ultimate price by paying with his life. He advised the jury in his trial that, “…I have writings, and after my death I hope that my spirit will bring practical results.” I encourage Métis people take the time to research the writings – many are still available – it is enlightening and enriching and will still help us today in finding those practical results.

We need to be cognizant of the leaders that we pick today. Do they fight for our cause before themselves? Do they work to unite our people and find the means to work with the world harmoniously? Do they place the Métis Nation in a place where we can be proud and the work that they do will be what guides our great grandchildren 200 years from now.

It concerns me when I hear that instead of uniting our people and working to have government move the Métis agenda forward – we spend our resources and our spirits suing each other and fighting each other. Louis Riel had Métis people in his community that opposed him and his beliefs – he forgave them and spoke about the manipulation of government to divide his people. I encourage people to select our leaders based on the same values and principles that our Fore Father Louis Riel lived by. I suspect many of our leaders would fall far short of the standard he set.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Stop Trevor Gladue From Ruining the MNA

This is a group on Facebook. (www.facebook.com) has begun. Now rumor has it that Mr. Gladue does not like the scrutiny that he has brought on himself. He thought that political accountability was for others – not for himself but let’s face it accountability belongs to the people. Look at the issues facing the present Prime Minister with the allegaqtions of the former PM Brian Mulroney. No one is above scrutiny and when you stand on the principal of honour and values you must live in a house that is able to withstand the rock throwing that you started.

Trevor is not the only one that is not up to the test of credibility. There are a host of people at the Métis Nation who have slung their mud and have nothing to judge. Watch for those posts they will be added to this blog site soon. I will tell you this – I believe that we all have experiences that can be shared but more importantly is that we work together to ensure that our leaders continue to work for the grassroots people and move what is important forward. The best leaders work through the mire and do not let political egos and careers be what guides them.

My Metis Mama

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Things That Get Government Funding That Don’t Meet The Stink Test

The Federal and Provincial laws in this country do not let government tax dollars be outwardly used for political campaigns. But in the Métis world the governments of this country are gullible. There is a newsletter in Alberta called Métis Matters that is produced by the Vice President of Alberta and his wife. This is a political campaign document that is used to present misinformation and smear campaigns to further his own political career. Why should government tax dollars fund a Métis politicians campaign?

Métis Matters receives funding from the Alberta Government’s department of Alberta International, Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Relations and the federal government’s Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non Status Indians. Even though Trevor is already paid in excess of $50,000.00 annually (not including his large travel expenses) out of the tax payers purse, receiving lucrative honorariums for being the chair of the Northern Lakes College – he is now receiving government funds to run his campaign. Even though this political rag is publicly funded – there is no accounting for the resources that they receive.

This same man wants accountability from the leaders of our community but does not see himself living up to the ideals he set for others. He wants to talk about the cash flow problems at the Métis Nation of Alberta but does not come clean about why those cash flow problems exist. Firstly, approximately a million dollars of the deficit is a result of the Provincial Council’s salaries, travel expenses and other costs associated with their existence. Now for a man that is concerned about deficits – he has not forgone the costs associated with his expenses. Do not mistake this for the work he does for the Métis in Alberta – he never attends meetings – he never goes to the office and participates in things that will let the Métis Nation move forward on their priorities – he never works with the government to negotiate new agreements – in fact – most people would be hard pressed to know what he is doing other then trying to position himself in front of a camera for the perfect photo opportunity.

When he presents the cash flow issue of the Métis Nation of Alberta – he fails to mention that he has been one of the key factors to the cash flow issues – where he is worried that President Poitras is an unbeatable incumbent in the next election – so he has waged his war with the Provincial and Federal government to have them withhold the core funding, program funding and community funding. Now in his mind – this is to hurt one individual politically – with no thought about how it impacts our community. The Alberta Government had negotiated agreements with the involvement of our Provincial Métis Council over the past two years to assist us with the development of Métis policies in relation to consulting us on industry development, they have tried to bring the Métis into the discussions and solutions around homelessness and inadequate housing, in the area of Children Services and our families being impacted with the Child Welfare system, the education of our Métis children and economic development opportunities of the Métis people. The MNA provincial council were involved in the evaluation and review of these programs to develop a newly signed Framework Agreement. Lawyers were involved in insuring that the agreement was in the best interest of the Métis people and that it would not violate who we were. Trevor and his buddies have made off to the Alberta government that they do not know about the agreement and are demanding that the Alberta government withhold the contribution agreement for us to move forward on these important initiatives.

Trevor was given the portfolio of land when he was re-elected in 2005. The government of Alberta committed $250,000 to complete a province wide consultation for the Métis to on Land Use and the issues that effect the Métis. Trevor did not bother to attend meetings with the government and follow through with the consultations. In the eleventh hour the government went back to President Poitras and asked her what they should do because Trevor dropped the ball. On the surface it may not have seemed that important but it was the consultation that would have the Métis involved in establishing policies that would assist us in protecting crown lands for our traditional life, protecting the plants and medicines, ensuring that we minimize the damage that Métis trappers, hunters and fisherman experience because of industry development. It also would identify the future opportunity to train Métis youth to be environmentalists, land stewards, and protectors of the wildlife and plant life that sustains many Métis families. Audrey removed Trevor’s portfolio and has tried to keep the Métis Nation staff focused on this project that had to be completed this week so that there would be some focus on the issues that effect Métis, Trevor has not even attended one of the consultations and when he was on the governments committee that he was paid on – did not even ensure that their was viable presentations made by our Métis elders, trappers, hunters or loggers. He was too busy collecting off the tax payers purse with no results.

Trevor was the Vice President for Region 5 for six years – his claim to fame in that six years was nothing. He is now going on six years that he has been the Vice President of the provincial board and other then sucking the Canadian Tax payers dry his achievements have been nothing. We are launching a campaign to write letter to Guy Boutilier, Minister of Alberta International, Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Relations and Minister Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians and tell them to stop funding Métis Matters, the Political Campaign Rag Sheet of Trevor Gladue’s. We also encourage you to write letters to Alberta’s Premier, Ed Stelmach and inform him to remove Trevor from representing Métis on all future committees and task forces with the Alberta Government. Trevor only represents himself and does not want to do any more for the Métis people then funnel money to himself through the public purse. Our Métis forefathers were proud people who worked hard to earn an honest living and did not have to exploit us for their own gain.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Métis Nation is a strong, proud community. I was raised to be proud of who I am and to understand that you work and strive to be all that you can be. I came from a strong family who taught me work ethics and belief in myself. I try to duplicate that in the things that I do and the world that surrounds me. For this reason, I believed that it was important to develop more communication with people so that we can share stories, politics, faith and a place to debate our differences.

I am hoping that this blog sight will become a place of great debates, information sharing and encouragement of people to become more understanding of our commonalities and our differences. I do not expect everyone to share my view on all issues that will be presented on this sight but I hope that it inspires people to become critical thinkers and to make a decision based on their views and issues that are to be shared.