BC Métis Federation Opposition Notice of Intent to Contract NOI #NOIHL245

Clint Kuzio
Ministry of Health
1515 Blanshard Street
Victoria, British Columbia
V8W 3C8

Re: BC Métis Federation Opposition Notice of Intent to Contract NOI #NOIHL245 

The BC Métis Federation objects to the Ministry of Health decision to contract with the Métis Provincial Council of British Columbia (MPCBC), also known as the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC). MPCBC is not currently qualified to provide health services to the Métis population in BC. Structural issues within the organization must be addressed before this contract can be implemented.

The BC Métis Federation is a provincial Métis representative organization incorporated as a non-profit (S-58478) in June of 2011 and advocating for the interests and concerns of over 7300 members located throughout BC. BC Métis Federation registered opposition last year regarding a similar contract with the Ministry of Health. The reasons for opposition are based on the criteria once again identified in the Ministry of Health’s contract rationale.

For example, MPCBC’s exclusionary membership criteria are a serious concern. MPCBC admits to rejecting self-identified Métis individuals based on their ancestry and place of origin. Many of these individuals descend from historic Métis communities but do not meet MPCBC’s narrow membership criteria. MPCBC unnecessarily excludes many Métis people who trace their origins to Quebec, Eastern Canada, and elsewhere.

It is inevitable that certain Métis individuals will be unable to access the health services provided under the proposed contract because of their ancestry and/or place of origin. Contributing to differential health outcomes within the Métis population is not in the interest of reconciliation. It is our opinion that these policies are not an issue about improving Métis health, but about power. In this situation this ongoing public policy will segregate, marginalize and assimilate Métis people. The Ministry appears to justifying excluding other Métis organizations in part by referring to Métis who have passed the MNBC membership process that requires proof of genealogy. This policy seeks to maintain the illusion that Métis do not exist outside of court endorsed rights-based ‘regulatory’ schemes. In effect this policy falsely claims the right that MNBC somehow is the sole guarantor of Métis existence which is not true.

Further, the BC Métis Federation wishes to remind the Ministry of Health that discrimination based on race, ancestry, and/or place of origin is prohibited by the Human Rights Code. MPCBC’s discriminatory membership criteria remain a contentious issue. It would be imprudent to enter into a contract until this issue is formally resolved.

The Ministry of Health should thoroughly assess the state of MPCBC’s finances before implementing the proposed contract. Compliance audits completed by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) have demonstrated serious financial mismanagement within MPCBC. Serious questions have also been raised regarding MPCBC’s financial solvency. It is highly questionable to enter into a contract with an organization that has such serious financial issues.

Entering into a contract with the MPCBC raises serious legal, social, and financial concerns. The BC Métis Federation recommends that the Ministry of Health thoroughly review the issues raised in this letter. It would be sensible to delay the implementation of the proposed contract until the substantive issues raised in this letter are addressed.

BC Métis Federation respects the right of MPCBC/MNBC to represent the policy interests of their defined membership. However MPCBC/MNBC does not represent all Métis people and there is Métis self governance structures that must be included in any policy by any government that affects Métis people.

We look forward to follow up discussions.

Thank you,

Keith Henry


British Columbia Métis Federation 

[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Notice-of-Opposition-to-NOI-.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download a PDF version of this letter[/ilink]

Download the Notice of Intent here

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