In January 2022, the Metis National Council (MNC) filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit in Ontario Superior Court against:
– The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF);
– former MNC President Clement Chartier;
– current MMF President and former MNC Vice President and Treasury Secretary David Chartrand;
– former MNC CEO Wenda Waytteyne;
– and at least a dozen other people.
Newly elected MNC President Cassidy Caron released a statement in late January saying an audit of the MNC had “uncovered agreements, contracts and consultation arrangements that may be questionable in their nature.”
Based on the findings and consultation with counsel, the lawsuit was filed.
The MNC alleges that the previous government operated a system that financially harmed the organization while at the same time improving the position of the MMF at the national level.
The complaint reads, in part, “MNC’s claims arise out of a plan committed by Chartier, Chartrand, MMF and Watteyne in the Province of Ontario to willfully inflict serious financial and other harm on, and, among other things, benefit MNC accordingly, itself.” , following her departure from MNC in the summer of 2021.”
Clement Chartier served as President of the MNC from 2003 to 2021. Shortly after leaving, Chartier was hired by the MMF as ambassador for international and international relations for a “new government” that the MMF was reportedly forming.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants engaged in “a scorched earth policy to intentionally inflict financial and other harm on MNC, recognizing that MNC and MMF would now compete for the legitimate or recognized authority and voice of the Métis- going forward to be a nation.”
The lawsuit reportedly seeks $15 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.
MNC President Caron said of the matter: “We need to understand what happened at the MNC before my election. We deserve truth, we deserve justice, and we deserve to put a deadline on the past, and we deserve to finally move forward together.”
While many issues have been addressed in the lawsuit, some of the MNC’s more notable allegations include: $1.5 million in wrongly paid lump sum payments, improper severance payments, and transferring a “vital” database of archival and genealogical material to the MMF without the consent of the MMF board members.
None of the allegations have been proven.
However, the national zeitgeist appears to favor the Caron administration, as the Metis nations of Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia have all made statements in support of the MNC’s decision to pursue legal action.
Audrey Poitras, President of the Metis Nation of Alberta, released a statement saying, “As a governing and founding member of MNC, the Métis Nation of Alberta supports the decision of President Caron and the MNC Board of Governors to take action.
“We are committed to doing what is right and necessary to restore accountability, transparency and integrity to the MNC by advancing this litigation to ensure transparency and accountability and to hold individuals accountable for their actions.”
Meanwhile, current MMF President Chatrand spoke to APTN and explained that the exam Caron was scheduled to take does not exist.
“If you have an audit, (if) you have so much that you want to sue MMF, you want to sue David Chartrand, you want to sue Clement Chartier, you want to sue her, you think it’s worth $15 million Dollar has, show us,” Chartrand said.
“You should have nothing to hide, nothing to fear because it scared you. Then it should scare us all.”
“There’s no exam, I’m telling you,” he said.