Dueling sides within the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan met once again in a Saskatoon courtroom Monday morning.
Last December, a judge ordered the organization to hold a Provincial Métis Council meeting by the end of January 2015.
This meeting did happen and the PMC voted in favour of holding a legislative assembly in Yorkton in September.
However, MNS President Robert Doucette says this is not soon enough and wants a judge to set a date for an assembly as soon as possible.
Otherwise, he says the organization could be forced to close the doors of its Saskatoon office due to a lack of money.
Federal funding to the MN-S has been cut since last November for failure to hold an assembly for the last few years.
Doucette accuses Vice-President Gerald Morin and others on provincial council of trying to silence the voices of rank and file Métis people through continued tactics that have resulted in an assembly not being scheduled until the fall.
“There is a nation of community based leaders who are not being heard right now and they’ve asked me to step forward and get them a meeting and that’s what this application is all about,” he says.
Gerald Morin argues the MNS should not hold a legislative assembly until the executive has been fully transparent which includes providing all financial records.
“A proper breakdown with respect to the trust funds and the sale of the building (previous MNS headquarters) and so on,” he says. “So a number of things were set out and none of that information has been received by us and we’ve been requesting this information for the last two years.”
Doucette says if the MN-S office is forced to close its doors due to a lack of federal funding, documents relating to the citizenship registry could be in danger.
However, Morin says although he does not dispute the office may have to close, the citizenship records could be moved to another location such as the Gabriel Dumont Institute.
He says the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan will always exist, with or without an office, and is confident a new funding agreement with the federal government can be reached down the road.
Justice Brian Sherman told legal representatives for Robert Doucette on Monday that they need to prove Morin and others were acting in “bad faith” when they voted in favor of waiting until September to hold a legislative assembly.
They have until Thursday afternoon to present any affidavits and other council minutes that could be considered proof of this argument.
Justice Sherman will then render a written decision on Doucette’s application on Monday April 6.