This letter provides the specific rationale on each area identified by the Ministry of Health to justify the exclusive agreement with MPCBC. BC Métis Federation members can be confident that the leaders are working hard to address this serious situation.
￼￼Friday, August 14th, 2015￼Clint Kuzio ￼Ministry of Health ￼1515 Blanshard Street ￼Victoria, British Columbia ￼V8W 3C8
￼￼￼￼￼￼Re: BC Métis Federation Supplementary Letter Notice of Intent to Contract NOI #NOIHL245
Please accept this corrrespondence further to the BC Métis Federation letter of opposition to the Notice of Intent submitted earlier this week:
1. The nature of this work is highly specialized and the MPCBC is uniquely qualified for providing the services. The specialized nature of the work is in working with and for the Métis population of BC. In order to reach this specific population an organization is required to demonstrate that it has a governance structure that includes proven support and connection to a large number of the Métis people in BC. Further, this specialized work requires a Métis organization that has employees with a health service background with proven capacity for outreach to Métis communities;
Response : MPCBC is not uniquely positioned to reach the Métis population in BC. BC Métis Federation was established in June 2011 and today has over 1300 Métis members carrying our provincial organization membership card.
BC Métis Federation works through partner community organizations who also have an estimated membership of 6000 and are located in Surrey, Vancouver, Fort St. John, Terrace, Prince Rupert, Dawson Creek, Prince George and several other locations.
As per the BC Métis Federation 2014-2015 BC Métis Federation (http://bcmetis.com/2015/08/bc-metis- federation-2014-2015-annual-report-and-financial-statements/) has proven governance for our members and is recognized by a number of industry and Federal Government environnemental processes to address Section 35 asserted Métis rights. This required consultation with Métis people in potentially impacted areas and BC Métis Federation continues engagement on a regular basis as evident in our recent annual report and numerous consultation reports available on our website.
A cornerstone of our ability to reach grassroots Métis people is the BC Métis Federation’s communcation strategy. This includes the largest Aboriginal social media follwing in Canada on the BC Métis Federation facebook page, active twitter handle., website is updated daily, and BC Métis Federation provides a weekly news hour entitled Métis Coffee Talk. BC Métis Federation also interviews regularily on the Métis Matters Radio Show and finally we send out information to our email distribution list. Our information reaches every corner of British Columbia and Canada and the levels of engagement are unparalleled by MPCBC or any other Métis organization in BC or Canada.
￼BC Métis Federation continues to push forward with Métis health and one of our board members is completing her PHD to become a practicing medical doctor. BC Métis Federation has created a long term strategic plan and we are working to address the needs of our Métis members in all areas of wellness, including health. BC Metis Federation has provided members health workshops including diabetes prevention and awareness, etc.
BC Métis Federation is preparing a health workshop at our upcoming Annual General Meeting September 26th in Kamloops. This is our 4th Annual General Meeting and our organization has delegates attending from throughout British Columbia. The last Annual General Meeting included attendance from roughly 150 Métis people and is comparable,if not larger, than other provincial Métis meetings being held by Métis organizations in British Columbia.
In light of these factors of proven and effective governance with a legitmate membership of Métis people, it is our view that the Ministry of Health’s justification is highly inaccurate.
2. MPCBC is the only organization that can represent its membership in the development process of Métis health in BC. While there are approximately 70,000 self-identified Métis in BC, the MPCBC represents all 9,500 of their Métis members who have passed a membership process that requires proof of genealogy. The MPCBC membership numbers continue to grow;
The MPCBC is NOT the only Métis organization that can represent its membership in any development of policy; health or otherwise. BC Métis Federation has developed policies (http://bcmetis.com/about/policy- documents) on consultation, children and families, and we continue policy development for our members on several areas that affect our members.
We agree there is roughly 70,000 self identified Métis people in BC but MPCBC only represents 9500. BC Métis Federation has over 1300 card carrying members and an effective membership verification system that provides Métis identification in accordance with our bylaws and the evolving law and court decisions in Canada.
Our membership in the BC Métis Federation is growing each month given our effective governance and communication strategy with members.
3. MPCBC has the connection to a particular constituency of Aboriginal people necessary to support health authorities and related communities in Aboriginal health planning process. MPCBC is the largest Métis organization with the most Métis members, currently 9,500, and with the largest number of Métis communities, currently 35 across the province. This will lead to enhanced access to provincial health services of the referenced Aboriginal communities; and
BC Métis Federation provides partners an effective connection to a constituency of Aboriginal people necessary to support health authorities. These health authorities work with multiple First Nations in British Columbia and should be quite familiar working with more than one Aboriginal organization and community.
￼The asserted Métis rights to be consulted require governments to ensure all Métis people affected by any policy or program design have a right to be engaged and consulted. The rationale provided by the Ministry of Health is not founded in law, but rather suggests a political view consistent within the Provincial Government position for the past years that only further restricts and marginalizes Métis people’s right to associate with the organization they freely choose as protected under Section 35 and uor right to self govern. The Ministry of Health was opposed for similar reasons last year and this notion that the MPCBC membership will enhance access is one narrow view. Enhanced access will be created when the Ministry of Health recognizes BC Métis Federation has a significant number of members and partners who must be meaningfully participant for all policy work and will provide a significant new network of members to truly enhance access of services for Métis people.
4. The Ministry of Health has previously contracted with MPCBC, most recently through an RFP (#RFPHL206) process which did not result in any other vendor(s) with the capacity to provide the services.
We disagree with this point as BC Métis Federation was patient when filing opposition this past year. One representative from the Ministry of Health met with BC Métis Federation as a result of our efforts in 2014 and there has been no meaningful engagement since that meeting. BC Métis Federation felt we had capacity to engage in 2014 but recognized this process may take time.
Having said this BC Métis Federation has continued to build capacity through increased membership, increased financial systems within the organization, proven execution of contracts delivering new programs and establishment of the Métis Economic Development Corporation, and continue to implement significant Métis cultural and language programs.
This is a particular concern as MPCBC services are in no way cultural relevant for Métis people or different than non Aboriginal mainstream health services. Most of the MPCBC staff is not Métis and therefore how can the Ministry of Health justify MPCBC’s exclusive participation to design health policy and programs given the lack of proven Métis cultural support from MPCBC over the years. BC Métis Federation’s support for Métis culture is paramount and as such health and all social economic areas must be based in this cultural recognition. The BC Métis Federation has been the most effective Métis cultural organization in British Columbia and we continue to press for proper Métis cultural representation in all that we do.
We propose that the Ministry of Health consider a fair share split of these revenues to ensure both the MPCBC and BC Métis Federation can represent their actual legal members. BC Métis Federation has proven itself to our members and many partners and it is time we find a constructive relationship with the Ministry of Health to allow all Métis people to participate in important policies related to health.
￼￼￼Keith Henry￼President ￼British Columbia Métis Federation
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