Metis National Council faces financial audit by outside consulting firm

OTTAWA — The Metis National Council is embracing an outside financial audit requested by the federal government, the group's finance minister said Monday.

David Chartrand said in an interview that he expects a financial review by the firm Ernst & Young to be completed by next week, adding that Ottawa's decision to hire the firm to scrutinize the council's books stems from a complaint from a person he describes as a "disgruntled" former employee.

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"We have nothing to hide at the Metis National Council," Chartrand said. "I welcome it with open arms."

The audit was first reported by CBC News.

Chartrand said he believes nothing will be found in the audit — a process that has spanned months — but he said there will be accountability if any improper spending is identified in the results.

The office of Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett said in a statement on Monday that it cannot comment because the financial review of the Metis National Council is ongoing.

The Metis National Council has had a close working relationship with the federal government and at a June meeting known as the Crown-Metis National Summit, the organization's president thanked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his leadership. Trudeau said the Canadian government's relationship with the Metis Nation can be put forward as a model of what reconciliation can be.

Chartrand said Monday that no one in his organization, which is meant to reflect and promote the aspirations of Metis governments, has received a call from the RCMP regarding the complaint.

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