Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Metis Groups in Saskatchewan and B.C. Audited over Their Finances

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Metis Groups in Saskatchewan and B.C. Audited over Their Finances

Article excerpt

Saskatchewan, B.C. Metis groups audited

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OTTAWA - At least two provincial Metis groups came under scrutiny after questions arose about their management and finances, newly released documents show.

Audits of the British Columbia and Saskatchewan organizations have come to light as their national council is embroiled in a controversy over its own expenses that has bred animosity among its top leadership.

Both Metis groups insist they have since dealt with the issues raised in their audits.

The Aboriginal Affairs Department hired an outside consultant to look at the Metis Nation Saskatchewan and the Metis Nation British Columbia. The Canadian Press obtained copies of the two audits, both done in 2012 by Ottawa-based Hallux Consulting, under the Access to Information Act.

Hallux is the same company that Aboriginal Affairs hired around the same time as the provincial groups' audits were done to take a closer look at the management practices and financial controls of the Metis National Council.

The Saskatchewan audit raised questions about executive compensation and travel, while the B.C. audit found apparent conflicts of interest and expenses that should have been ineligible for federal funding under the terms of their contribution agreements with the government.

Metis Nation Saskatchewan president Robert Doucette, who has been critical of the national council, said all the issues in the Hallux audit have been dealt with.

"If I'm going to be pointing fingers, I'd better be ready to answer other questions, too," Doucette said.

"It swings both ways and I'm OK with that."

However, Gerald Morin, a rival of Doucette who is a member of the elected provincial Metis council, said he does not know if the auditor's findings have been addressed.

Metis Nation British Columbia president Bruce Dumont was not immediately available to comment on the audit. In a recent interview, however, Dumont said his organization has dealt with the issues raised by the auditor.

"We had a chance to respond to our audit, of course, and we did straighten that out," he told The Canadian Press last month.

"There was a couple of things we had to deal with."

Another provincial Metis organization also fell under the microscope several years before the latest round of audits.

Unrelated documents, obtained from Health Canada under access-to-information, show the Metis Nation of Ontario Secretariat was audited in 2008 over "allegations of potential wrongdoings related to expenditures claimed by MNO under the funding agreements. …

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