May 13, 2014 3:55 pm

Saskatchewan Metis leader calls on Ottawa to end national funding

Saskatchewan Metis leader Robert Doucette asks Ottawa to cut-off funding to a national organization in dispute over a recent election.

SASKATOON – The head of the Metis Nation Saskatchewan (MNS) is asking Ottawa to stop funding the national organization after the recent re-election of its president.

Robert Doucette, the president of MNS, called into question the recent re-election of Clem Chartier as president of the Metis National Council (MNC), saying Chartier was not democratically re-elected.

At issue, said Doucette, is how the MNC president voting delegates were chosen.

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“Never in my twenty years of attending MNC annual general assemblies have I seen an MN-S executive not be a delegate sitting at the table representing Metis citizens at the MNC annual general meetings,” said Doucette.

Doucette alleges MNS vice president Gerald Morin and nine area directors replaced four democratically elected officials with three people who had not been elected which allowed Chartier to win the MNC presidency by one vote.

“As far as I’m concerned at this present moment, the MNC is irrelevant in the lives of the average Metis citizen and after this weekend does not have the moral, legal, or political right to say they represent the interests of the Metis citizens of Canada,” said Doucette.

“I will be exploring my options to bring justice to this election and business of the MNC meeting this weekend which could include a court action.”

This is not the first time there has been a rift between Doucette and Chartier.

In March, bitter infighting erupted between Chartier and four heads of provincial Metis organizations after they accused Chartier of refusing to call a board meeting.

Chartier stated at the time the board meeting would not be called until a court case involving the MNS had run its course.

The court case involved allegations Doucette held illegal meetings, removed elected representatives and changed the provincial constitution.

A Saskatchewan judge ruled in favour of the suit brought forward by Morin to nullify the actions of Doucette.

Doucette also faced pressure last year from within the MNS to step down as president over what Morin called concerns over a governance structure overhaul and secrecy on Doucette’s part.

There have also been accusations of questionable expenses.

A 2012 audit of the MNS obtained by The Canadian Press questioned executive compensation including paying executives 34 per cent more than required under provincial labour standards and claiming meal costs when they were already receiving per diems.

MNS stated they have dealt with the issues raised in the audit.

- With files from The Canadian Press

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