(Vancouver, BC) The BC Mètis Federation has reported filing their human rights application against the Provincial Government on January 25th, 2013. The BC Human Rights case application was based on addressing three specific issues;
1. BC Métis Federation and our partner communities are being excluded by the Province in relation to the Memorandum of Understanding addressing the provision of Métis children and family services in BC that was signed between the Ministry of Child and Family Development and several Métis organizations in 2012;
2. The exclusion of the BC Métis Federation and our partner communities in the Off Reserve Aboriginal Action Plan initiative; and
3. The exclusion of the BC Métis Federation and our partner communities in the language of the Provincial Governments consultation guide entitled “Building Relationships with First Nations.”
The BC Human Rights Tribunal accepted the case brought forward by the BC Métis Federation in May 2013 and the Ministry of Child and Family Development as well as the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation are the identified respondents.
This past week the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) has applied to the BC Human Rights Tribunal to seek a position to intervene suggesting they have to be involved due to their claim that MNBC represents all Métis people in British Columbia.
BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry stated, “I was quite surprised by the application to intervene by the MNBC. They were not named in the claim yet somehow they now feel they have the right to suggest they represent all Métis people with or without their consent? BC Métis Federation respects the rights of the MNBC and their Charter Communities to represent their interests but that is it. The fact is MNBC is a non for profit organization and there is absolutely no Provincial Government legislation that suggests they represent Métis people exclusively. This latest action speaks to the arrogance of this organization that has created their current loss of support each and every day throughout British Columbia. ”
BC Métis Federation President Henry added, “The BC Métis Federation fight for justice in this case is a fight for all Métis of British Columbia, not just the select few of MNBC. As we know there are about 70,000 Métis people in BC according to the 2011 census. MNBC has about 8000 card carrying members and by their own admission have denied MNBC membership to about 25% of the applicants. Their last provincial election in September of 2012 saw only an approximate 600 people vote in the organization. So let me get this straight, MNBC thinks they can simply claim they represent all Métis people still? This ideology is ethically and morally dysfunctional. This thought process is also contrary to the Senate Report on Métis identity that was released in June 2013 which supports the position of the BC Métis Federation that other Métis organizations with a legitimate constituency base need to be involved with Federal Government policy and future engagement. The Senate Committee identified there is no one size fits all approach and as we know today the BC Métis Federation has a well established membership system and represents thousands of Métis people.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry concluded, “Given these developments we are updating the membership and partner communities today of the latest MNBC attempt to undermine our legal authority to govern and have your voice heard. A copy of our initial response to the BC Human Rights Tribunal is provided for your review along with the MNBC intervener application. BC Métis Federation will be provided an additional response this week pointing out a few other facts for the BC Human Rights Tribunal to consider in our hopes to deny this MNBC application. MNBC might be able to mislead and fool their members but the reality is BC Métis Federation and our partner communities represent several thousand Métis people who have every right to have their voices heard. The overwhelming majority of these individuals has freely chosen not to have an MNBC membership card and have chosen to have the BC Métis Federation advocate and lobby on their behalf. No one at MNBC can take that away.”
The BC Human Rights Tribunal is reviewing the MNBC Intervener application and a decision is expected in September. The BC Métis Federation and Provincial Government have agreed to enter into mediation and negotiations to resolve the issues in late October.
For more information about the BC Métis Federation please view the website at www.bcmetis.com.
BC Métis Federation
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
You can now follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis
[ilink url=”ttp://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Press-Release-August-19th-2013-MNBC-Intervener-Application.pdf” style=”download”]Download this Press Release in PDf[/ilink]
[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/BC-HRC-Letter-August-14th-Re-MNBC-Intervenor-Status-Application.pdf” style=”download”]MNBC Intervener Application Download in PDF[/ilink]
[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/BC-Metis-Federation-Response-to-MNBC-Intervener-Application-August-16th-2013-Final-Signed.pdf” style=”download”]BC Metis Federation Response to MNBC Intervener Application August 16th, 2013 Final Signed[/ilink]