(Vancouver, BC) On June 11th, 2014, the BC Métis Federation received a most disturbing correspondence from the BC Human Rights Tribunal (BCHRT).
It has been decided by the BCHRT that the application made in on January 29th, 2013 questioning the practices ultimately discriminating against thousands of Metis people in British Columbia has no real prospect of success. The BC Métis Federation filed this application in response to the discriminatory practices of both the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation (MARR) and the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). Countless attempts were made by the BC Métis Federation to engage with the aforementioned Ministries, on behalf of the now 7300 Métis people represented by the BC Métis Federation in British Columbia. The result was a continued negligence in working with the BC Métis Federation choosing to support the narrow definition of Métis as demonstrated by the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC).
The BC Métis Federation is not deterred by recent correspondence, once again proving that the BC government and the systems that are funded by taxpayers such as the BCHRT, do not work for our Métis people. The BC Métis Federation will be responding to this dismissal and is optimistic as the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), which has recently reversed their decision and will hear our case for discrimination, claiming that the BC Métis Federation claim cannot be dismissed as frivolous.
It is the belief of the BC Métis Federation that processes such as the BCHRT are supposed to exist to assist people that are not able to access services and are discriminated against. It is clear from the documentation, that the BCHRT is not as advanced in their thought process or understanding of either the BC Métis Federation or the Métis people we represent, as most of their reasoning for dismissal is that the BCHRT feels this is a political argument and not really based on discrimination. The BC Métis Federation disagrees with this BCHRT view. Furthermore, many trivial items were raised as to how the BC Métis Federation filed the documents and the fact that we did not have signed affidavits of support. At no time during our correspondence with the BCHRT were we notified of the importance of such administrative processes with any supporting documentation was required.
BC Métis Federation President Henry stated; “On behalf of the BCMF I ask that Métis people continue to support our efforts in ensuring that all Métis people get the support that they deserve. We as an organization will continue to push the issues to the forefront and we are not prepared to let the government of British Columbia or the BCHRT, which is supposed to assist our people and organizations, off the hook that easily.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry concluded, “BC Mètis Federation will continue to advance the CHRC claim which has been accepted to move forward and we await further procedural clarification. We have stated from the outset that we will continue to demand the injustice of program mismanagement and rights to access services and policy include all Métis people in British Columbia. While disappointed I remain very optimistic as we know that ultimately the Federal Government has the fiduciary duty for all Métis people in British Columbia and we have been successful to date with advancing this claim. In fact as we review the BCHRT we may in fact re-file the claim following the instructions by the BCHRT Tribunal Member. This will be further explored by our leadership in the coming weeks.”
For more information about BC Métis Federation check out the website @ www.bcmetis.com.
Keith Henry, President
BC Métis Federation
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
You can now follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis
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