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Clem Chartier re-elected President of MNC.

Ottawa

The Metis National Council (MNC) fulfilled their General Assembly on February 23rd and voted their national President into office after months of disputes over leadership.

"It's been a long road to get to that vote to enable the legitimate representatives of our people who have been elected at the ballot box within our five jurisdictions," said Clem Chartier, re-elected President of the MNC.

Chartiers presidency comes after 28 votes were cast in his favor out of the total 54 votes allowed.

The other candidates include: Tony Belcourt, President of Metis Nation of Ontario with 12 votes, Rick Laliberte, MEtis citizen from northern Saskatchewan and Bruce Dumont, Metis Nation of British Columbia with 11 votes.

Disputes about the legitimacy of Chartiers' earlier term as national president began after his term expired October of 2006, but was extended because the national council could not hold an assembly.

In July of 2007, the MNC Board of Governors, made up of provincial presidents, put forward a motion to appoint Bruce Dumont as interim president until a general assembly was held. Chartier and the president of the Manitoba Metis began legal actions against the Ontario and Alberta provincial presidents that began a long round of disputes between regional leaders.

"I wish we had a mechanism within our nation itself, within our constitution to deal with conflict resolution, but we don't have that," said Chartier.

The plan to adopt political constitution is part of what Chartier says he will do as president along with representing the MNC with the federal government.

The leadership now sees that is a need and also there is a need to understand the lesson that all of this has taught us, he said.

Chartier states he is prepared to meet with all of the provincial presidents and put aside any bad feelings from the past to move on with the future of the MNC.

When asked how his earlier lawsuit, that includes $300,000 in damages, against the MNC will be handled, Chartier explained he is still seeking legal advice to resolve those issues.

"Yes, part of the suit is seeking damages for unfair dismissal and things of that nature with that amount that is mentioned in there, now we still have to sit down, the Manitoba Metis Federation and myself with the law firm that is representing us to determine how we are going to move forward on this," said Chartier.

Bruce Dumont, President of the Metis Provincial Council of British Columbia (MPCBC) said his organization is considering what part it will play on the national council.

The MNC needs to have national support from the federal government on MEtis issues, but is doubtful that will happen under Chartier's leadership.

"I was hoping for change, we need change, and the Metis National Council is in crisis right now," said Dumont.

MPCBC supports the MNC, but under a different leader, said Dumont.

Self-governance should be the highest priority for the national council so disputes like the one that took place over the last year aren't settled by the courts, and there needs to be equality among the provinces with the number of votes each council has, said Dumont.

The MPCBC has five votes at the national general assemblies along with Metis Nation of Ontario while Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba each have 15.

"We have 37 chartered communities and we represent 60,000 people - self-identified Metis people. I take it (votes) to the table every year and it's in the by-laws that we ask for additional delegates and it's been turned down," said Dumont.

As member of Board of Governors, Dumont is still considering if he will take part in further meetings at the national level because of his lack of confidence in Chartier's leadership.

When asked if there was any chance of repairing his relationship with the MNC and Chartier, Dumont said there should be meetings before too long which he hopes will be candid to iron out any differences.

BY Marie Burke

Windspeaker Staff Writer
COPYRIGHT 2008 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
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Title Annotation:news; Metis National Council
Author:Burke, Marie
Publication:Windspeaker
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 1, 2008
Words:666
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