David Chartrand calls Métis National Council allegations ‘baseless’

The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) and its President David Chartrand deny allegations made by the Métis National Council (MNC) in a multi-million dollar lawsuit that claims the MMF caused serious financial harm to the MNC.

the complaint filed on January 27 in the Ontario Superior Court, alleges that in the run-up to the MMF’s departure from the MNC just before the MNC’s election last fall, the defendants “engaged in a scorched earth policy” to cause financial harm to the MNC, as the MNC and MMF would compete to be the voice of the Métis nation in the future.

The MMF and Chartrand, who was vice-president of the MNC until last fall, filed a statement of defense Wednesday, in which they call the lawsuit “the latest salvo … in a larger political dispute over the representation of mixed-race people.”

The defense statement accuses the MNC of having a political agenda “to secure power and influence among the Métis in Canada and to erode and ultimately usurp the position of the MMF as the representative body of the Red River Métis” .

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Allegations include that $9 million from the $30 million Métis Veterans Fund contribution agreement was transferred to MMF, violating MMN regulations and that a seven-year lease was terminated. signed for an RNM office in Ottawa at above-market rent, being paid to a lessor whose shareholders are associated with MMF.

The MNC is seeking $15 million in damages and an additional $1 million in punitive damages, as well as other forms of restitution, according to its statement.

Chartrand said all of the allegations are an attempt to mislead and mislead the Métis Nation.

“When you look at their statement against us, it’s baseless,” Chartrand said, adding he was not short of money.

The office of the Métis National Council at 340 MacLaren Street in Ottawa. The statement alleges that the previous MNC administration signed a seven-year lease for this office space at above-market rent in October 2021 with a landlord whose shareholders are associated with MMF. (Jennifer Geens/CBC)

He said the rent for the MNC office in Ottawa was “well below – it’s in the fabric of what rental costs are.”

“They actually get more space and parking,” he said.

“The most embarrassing part…we gave them notice…You don’t want to pay me rent, then move out of here, go find a place you think is better there. So that’s the position in which they are now.”

Chartrand said the MMF will have an office in Ottawa and potentially offices in the Prairies.

Transfer of the veterans’ fund to verification, says Chartrand

The federal government’s contribution agreement to the Métis Veterans Fund is the result of more than 20 years of advocacy over discriminatory treatment in the way benefits were distributed to soldiers returning from World War II, led by Chartrand, according to the statement of defense.

The defense says the MNC “did not have the capacity to administer and implement the Contribution Agreement”, so implementation was “contracted out” to MMF under a service agreement.

Chartrand said the MNC was aware of the $9 million veterans fund transferred to the MMF.

“When you look at the legacy fund, it was a promise I made and it was a request from our veterans,” he said.

“[MNC] claimed … they had no knowledge of the investment, but that’s in their 2021 audit,” he said.

In an emailed statement, the MNC said “President [Cassidy] Caron is pleased to have received the defense so that the legal process can continue.

“We have full confidence in the legal process and as this is a matter before the court, we will have no further comment at this time.”