The Metis Nation of Alberta is responding to claims that seven local groups want to leave the organization.
On Tuesday, President of Region 1 James Cardinal released a statement responding to Fort McKay Metis President Ron Quintal, after the latter claimed the groups were mulling over leaving the MNA.
Cardinal is now calling for an independent referendum of each of the seven locals to leave the decision in the hands of community members.
Speaking to Mix News, he says they have to let the people decide what’s best.
“We can’t let the leadership of the communities decide where they want to take their people. It’s the grassroots people who put us in here, they are the ones who should decide whether they leave the MNA or not.”
In an interview on Monday, Quintal claimed these groups are growing frustrated with the MNA’s overseeing of their respective communities.
In hearing of the proposed referendum, he says they’d welcome the idea.
“In my 15 years as President of Fort McKay, we’ve got a big fat goose egg in terms of support and resources from the MNA. So, it’s insulting to the community but realistically, I welcome a referendum in order to allow the community to make a decision and to practice a good exercise in democracy.”
In a letter, MNA President Audrey Poitras says there has been misinformation regarding an ‘MNA money grab’.
It was alleged that the MNA will receive 15 per cent of any Industry Impact Benefit Agreement that they sign with industry.
Cardinal notes not only is this a false claim, but it’s also the MNA’s duty to maintain transparency and accountability among the local groups.
“We have to do that. People elected me for a reason. And what they are claiming is they’re complaining that MNA will take 15 per cent of any agreement signed with industry and that’s not a true statement.”
Cardinal says a referendum will give individuals the right to decide for themselves whether they want to be a part of the MNA.
“That’s what this referendum would do for us, is get an independent body to conduct a vote. I know Mr Quintal laughed about this, but we’ll see when it is all over. Maybe his whole community will be back with MNA.”
With a meeting being held in Fort McMurray later this month, Cardinal adds they hope to have MNA representatives on hand to give their two cents.
The meeting is being held on February 26 at Shell Place.