Indigenous

Elected Métis Nation B.C. president suing board members over suspension

Elected president of the Métis Nation B.C. Clara Morin Dal Col has filed a lawsuit against nine board members who voted to suspend her last month. 

Notice of claim alleges 'unlawful actions' by board members

The board of the Métis Nation B.C. announced they voted to suspend elected president Clara Morin Dal Col on Jan. 18. (Métis Nation B.C.)

Elected president of the Métis Nation B.C. Clara Morin Dal Col has filed a lawsuit against nine board members who voted to suspend her last month. 

Dal Col is asking the court to invalidate the motion to suspend her, and for a declaration that she continues to hold the office of president, alleging that nine board members took "unlawful actions" to remove her. 

She is also asking the court to nullify additional board motions that have taken place, including one focused on replacing her as B.C.'s representative at the Métis National Council. 

Dal Col was re-elected to a second term as Métis Nation B.C. president in September 2020. She's among 11 elected board members who represent more than 21,000 Métis people in the province. 

None of the allegations in the notice of claim have been proven in court. 

Nine members of the board voted to suspend her in a meeting held on Jan. 18. The notice of claim says that going into that meeting Dal Col wasn't informed about the allegations against her or that a motion to suspend her was coming.

The notice of claim says she was not given a chance to respond to the allegations made against her before the suspension vote took place.  

While the board voted to "suspend" her from her role as president, the court filing states the motion effectively removed her from office. 

The events that followed the motion "are inconsistent with a temporary suspension, and are instead consistent with a removal," states the notice of claim. 

The notice of claim says that after the motion passed, Dal Col had to immediately hand over her phone, computer and keys before being escorted out of the building by security guards. She was removed from the Métis Nation B.C. website and was ordered to "immediately vacate the condominium that she occupies" for the purposes of carrying out presidential functions. 

Court documents also claim that her office has since been reassigned and refurnished and that her photo has been taken down from the lobby of the Métis Nation B.C. office in Surrey. 

Métis Nation B.C. has yet to file a response

The notice of claim was filed on Feb. 3 at the B.C. Supreme Court. Métis Nation B.C. has yet to file a response and said it would not be commenting on the matter at this time. 

Last month, Lissa Dawn Smith, former vice-president and now acting president, said Dal Col was suspended because she allegedly "breached the confidentiality and brought the reputation of Métis Nation B.C. into disrepute." 

Métis Nation B.C. has also said Dal Col has a remedy to appeal her suspension through a senate process. 

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