After Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) president Audrey Poitras purchased advertising space in the Edmonton Sun to call Neil Waugh a racist for a column he wrote about the Interim Métis Harvesting Agreement, I remembered back to a letter I had received on April 28, 2005 from one of the leaders of the MNA. It appears that I too am a racist. In fact, maybe worse. Following is that letter:
Dear Mr. Miskosky,
I wish to inform you, on behalf of the 5000 registered Métis members I represent, I will be filing a class action lawsuit against yourself and Alberta Outdoorsmen for promoting hatred against the Métis people of this province. Under Section 19 of the Criminal Code of Canada, any persons promoting hate against a group of people can face serious criminal charges.
Therefore, today I will be contacting the local R.C.M.P. to file a complaint against yourself and Alberta Outdoorsmen. I will also be contacting the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the Publication’s Assistance Program requesting that they discontinue financial assistance for the publication of Alberta Outdoorsmen.
Long Live the Métis Nation.
Rick P. Boucher
Métis Nation of Alberta – Region One
And then of course the letter was cc’d to three different barristers, Ralph Klein, Pearl Calahasen, Audrey Poitras and various other Métis of high standing.
When I first received this letter I have to admit that I was a little bit shocked. And I don’t mean shocked in the sense that I was worried Mr. Boucher had any chance of proving such a ridiculous claim. What shocked me was the fact that somebody actually thought I hated them. And this person, who I don’t even know, felt I hated not only him, but all of the Métis people in Alberta. In fact, this guy was lumping me right in there with Adolf Hitler and Slobodan Milosevic.
After reading the letter I felt kind of dirty, then I laughed for awhile, and then I became angry. How could what I and others who wrote in this publication have it misconstrued to the point that racism and hatred is proclaimed? That’s just plain crazy! If speaking out against a poorly written agreement that was secretly negotiated behind the backs of those who have a stake in this resource is promoting racism and hatred, I guess we may as well throw democracy out the window and act like blind sheep following our leaders off the cliff.
And why would I, a guy who is married to a Métis woman, promote hatred against the Métis people of this province? Hell, my wife is very proud of her native background and especially of her grandmother who fostered 14 children and was named “Mother of the Year” by the “Voice of Alberta Native Women’s Society of Peace River” in May of 1981. And she has every right to be proud. Just ask her if I hate Métis or native people.
The largest complaint from the outdoor community—after conservation—has been that this exercise in “I want my rights” has given many who don’t need, nor should be allowed the right to hunt, fish or trap without a licence and at all times of year, the undeserved right to do so. Many of these same individuals couldn’t have given a rat’s ass whether they were Métis or not until this agreement came into effect.
This was proven to me while I was working the Alberta Outdoorsmen booth at the Red Deer Sportsmen’s Show when a couple of guys stopped at our booth and one of them proceeded to sign our petition against the IMHA. When he had finished signing he asked his buddy if he was going to sign as well. His buddy said, “No way! I’m not signing that. I’m Métis. I’m going to get me that.” What was real funny about this was the way he said Métis. He pronounced it, Met-us.
In another instance while working the Alberta Outdoorsmen booth at the Edmonton Boat and Sportsmen’s Show, I was told by a Métis women that, “It’s about time we got our rights.” She then proceeded to walk away in her designer jeans with her nose in the air.
Now, I’m not saying that every Métis person out there doesn’t need this right, because I’m sure there are a few who do. Just as there are others from many different backgrounds who do as well. Far from me to argue the point if you need some moose meat to feed your family for the winter. And I could care less what colour your skin is—if you need the meat to survive, have at her. I know I would.
It appears to me that the only true promoters of hatred and racism who have emerged from this whole government created fiasco are those of the elected nature in the Métis Nation of Alberta. They appear to be the ones with hatred and racism on their minds and coming from out of their mouths every time somebody speaks out against what they perceive as their right to do as they please. This tells me that the MNA has absolutely no argument for their case and reminds me of the way children sometimes act—if I can’t have my way then you’re all a bunch of racists and Métis haters.
It really is quite pathetic.
And I find that quite funny for various reasons as well, but mostly because I don’t recall there being any noise being made about Métis people for any reason prior to our government and the MNA deciding to bring them(selves) to the forefront.
I can just imagine what is being said behind closed doors about those of us who have spoken out against this agreement. I’m sure myself and Neil Waugh, who also has Métis relatives, would then be the ones writing the nasty letters to both Boucher and Poitras.
And don’t think for a second that there isn’t racism and hatred being displayed by the MNA because there is, and it is being displayed very prominently and has been for quite some time. Racism and hatred plays no favourite and cares not what one’s skin colour or background is, and it can and has been used on both sides. In this case, however, the MNA has chosen to use it every chance they get, flinging it madly about as though it was being used against them at every turn, when really they are the ones doing the mud-slinging as proven time and again since Pearl Calahasen’s attack, and more recently Audrey Poitras’ attack, on the Alberta Fish and Game Association and its members. And let’s not forget that AFGA’s VP, Maurice Nadeau, is also Métis. So how can the MNA justify its stance that everybody is against them because they are Métis when many of the people they themselves attack are Métis?
It appears to me that the MNA has forgotten just what our argument has been. They now just choose to scream out the “R” word and the “H” word instead of trying to explain to those of us who don’t understand, why they need the right to hunt, fish and trap without licence at all times of the year on all available lands of this province. And many of us will always fight against this agreement because nobody from the MNA has ever given a good reason for why they need it. And “because it is my right” is not a reason, it is purely selfishness to the greatest extent, but so far, that’s all we’ve ever heard. ■
For previous Outdoor Pursuits click here.