(Vancouver, BC) BC Métis Federation leadership attended a meeting yesterday with several Federal Government departments and a number of First Nations to follow up the recent report from the Special Federal Representative (SRF) on West Coast Energy Infrastructure. The report by SFR appointee Mr. Douglas Eyford was released in November 2013 and has been submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office.
The meeting was attended by a number of Federal Government departments including Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Natural Resource Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Employment and Social Development, Western Economic Diversification, Transport Canada, National Energy Board, and the Canadian Coast Guard. The meeting was framed with three objectives:
1. Review and confirm findings from the Special Federal Representative on West Coast Energy Infrastructure;
2. Review pipeline safety regime and planned measures; and
3. Review and confirm world class tanker safety system approach.
BC Métis Federation President Henry stated, “I found the deliberations today both constructive as well as frustrating. It is clear the SRF report has identified a number of good points for the Federal Government and the number of their departments to address. However what is clear is the ongoing lack of Métis awareness and recognition. There was an overwhelming indication of the efforts to address Aboriginal concerns highlighted by the report built from four pillars; building trust, fostering inclusion, advancing reconciliation, and taking action. However the current challenges regarding adequate or meaningful consultation are significant for Métis. Our leadership spoke to our perspective of improper Métis consultation at great lengths and the need for the Federal departments to find solutions moving forward. A number of points were raised by our leadership along with Kelly Lake Métis Settlement Society President Lyle Letendre about the lack of capacity, discrimination by industry suggesting they do not have to talk to the Métis, and other relevant points.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry added, “The challenges we described relating to Métis in British Columbia were certainly not exclusive to Métis. There were several First Nation leaders who spoke with strength about their vision going forward. There were several statements that the numerous proposed west coast energy projects cannot move forward without First Nations consent and it was clear a large number of First Nations delegates did not trust the Federal Government but recognized that there has to be a better way forward or British Columbia was heading for increased project disputes.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry concluded; “BC Métis Federation is planning to continue to advance the process as we understand today. There was discussion about our recognition, need for proper capacity, and our desire to have a relationship with the crown that has a fiduciary responsibility to all Métis people, not just a select few. A more in-depth written submission will be provided by January 31st, 2014 as per the options and the Federal Government representatives assured the participants that there would be follow up. We will be cautious going forward given the potential for misunderstandings by the Federal Government to assume participation at this table means support for all west coast energy infrastructure projects on behalf of our constituents and member communities. BC Métis Federal leadership will clarify expectations going forward and ensure we continue to have our rightful voice brought forward as per the growing mandate from Métis people across British Columbia. This meeting, although frustrating at times, demonstrated that BC Métis Federation, our members, and partner communities are recognized by the Federal Government. This historic time presents new hope that the Federal Government will take advantage of this opportunity to reset the relationship with all Métis in Canada. There are strong signs this is forthcoming and the BC Métis Federation leadership will ensure we move forward to meet the needs of our communities and families.”
For more information about the BC Métis Federation please go to www.bcmetis.com.
Keith Henry, President
BC Métis Federation
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
Office 1-604-638-7220 Cell 1-778-388-5013
You can now follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis
[ilink url=”[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Press-Release-January-14-2014-Meeting-with-Federal-Government.pdf” style=”download”]Download this Press Release in PDF[/ilink]
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