For Immediate Release
Response to Inaccuracies in CBC News Article re: MNA Local 2097 Election
Edmonton, AB January 8, 2018 – The Métis Nation of Alberta (“MNA”) must respond to numerous errors and inaccuracies contained in an article entitled “Métis Nation of Alberta calls re-election of local president ‘a sham’,” which was published on the CBC News website on January 7, 2018. The article relates to the re-election of the president of MNA Local 2097 (Lac la Biche) on November 16, 2017.
First, it must be made clear that this is the MNA’s first public statement regarding the re-election of the president of MNA Local 2097: the MNA has not called this re-election “a sham.” The MNA is a province-wide organization with over 35,000 Citizens. The MNA consists of a Provincial Council, six Regional Councils, and numerous Local Councils that, taken together, constitute the government of the Métis Nation within Alberta. According to the MNA’s bylaws, the President of the MNA’s Provincial Council, Audrey Poitras, is the spokesperson for the MNA. The CBC News article’s headline apparently refers to a press release issued by MNA Region 1 Regional Council on January 5, 2018. MNA Region 1 Regional Council, however, does not speak for the MNA as a whole.
For over 90 years, the MNA has been a manifestation of the Métis Nation’s inherent right to self-government. Our legitimacy, as a Métis government, comes from our Citizens—the Métis people themselves. At present, however, the MNA and its Regions and Locals are incorporated under Alberta’s Societies Act. The purpose of the incorporated association is to serve as a transitional vehicle on our journey towards full recognition of our self-government. Until full recognition of our self-government is achieved, we are obliged to adhere to the Societies Act and the bylaws considered, passed, and amended by our citizens at our Annual Meetings.
The MNA Local 2097’s Local Annual Meeting and Local Council election was held on November 16, 2017. In keeping with the bylaws of the MNA and MNA Local 2097, this date was set on October 25, 2017, at a regular meeting of the Local Council. As directed by the Local Council and in keeping with the applicable bylaws, notice of the meeting was given to members of Local 2097 by email, text, phone call, and newspaper.
The November 16, 2017, meeting was held at the home of Local president Brenda Bourque-Stratichuk. The bylaws of the MNA and MNA Local 2097 place no restrictions on where meetings can be held. MNA Locals are often small and underfunded, which sometimes means that meetings must be held in private residences.
The applicable bylaws require that a Local Council election be attended by at least 10 MNA Citizens who are eligible to vote at the meeting. At November 16, 2017, meeting, this quorum was met. In keeping with MNA Local 2097’s bylaws, all members of MNA Local 2097 who attended the meeting were permitted to vote. The election was chaired by Daniel Cardinal, MNA Region 1 Vice President.
The MNA’s Citizens and leaders have long recognized the limitations of the Societies Act as a vehicle for Métis self-government. That is why we are actively engaged in achieving full self-government for the Métis Nation of Alberta, outside of the Societies Act. On November 16, 2017, Canada and the MNA signed a historic Framework Agreement, which committed to giving expression to our inherent right to self-government and self-determination, including by negotiating a self-government agreement with Canada and developing a constitution for the Métis Nation with Alberta. We are working hard to make this happen. The dream of full recognition of self-government for the Métis Nation within Alberta is now closer than ever.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications and Citizen Engagement
Metis Nation of Alberta
780-455-2200 ext. 395