BCMF Pursues Human Rights Complaint in Response to Hate Speech Against Métis in BC

Vancouver, British Columbia, July 6, 2023 — BC Métis Federation (BCMF) announced today that it will be pursuing a Human Rights Complaint in response to Resolution no. 2023-39 (“the Resolution”) passed by the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (“UBCIC”) on June 8, 2023.

The UBCIC Resolution contains inflammatory, inaccurate and hateful language which amounts to the denial of the existence of Métis People in British Columbia, both historical and present-day. It accuses Métis People in British Columbia of acting as colonialists and attempts to malign an entire community, effectively denying Métis protected rights contained in and inherent to Section 35 of Canada’s Constitution Act.

In response to the UBCIC Resolution, on June 16, 2023, BCMF President Keith Henry emphasized that distinct Métis communities have evolved in the Pacific Northwest since the 1800s. Denying their existence is tantamount to erasing the histories of Métis families and ancestors who were subjected to the same colonization as First Nations, such as the residential school system, the Sixties Scoop, and missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Mr. Henry also requested a retraction of the hateful language contained in the Resolution, as well as a clarification about the use of the word “forcibly” in the context of denying Métis rights in BC.

The inflammatory language and tone of the Resolution could lead to detestation and vilification of Métis people based on their Métis identity, which could lead to loss of employment, removal from Indigenous committees, and potential physical intimidation, all under the misguided belief that Métis in BC are not Indigenous. The Resolution is inconsistent with Métis peoples’ efforts to implement their Section 35 rights in BC. Métis rights are yet to be determined but are in no way attempting to claim land from First Nations communities.

Regretfully, UBCIC has not responded to BCMF’s request, which had a deadline of June 30, nor have they responded to requests BCMF has been making since 2013 to establish a protocol agreement. In light of this, BCMF has no choice but to file a Human Rights Complaint for discrimination and hate speech pursuant to Section 7(1)(b) of the British Columbia Human Rights Code, which prohibits the publication of statements that would likely expose a person or a group or class of persons to hatred or contempt.

BCMF does not believe that the UBCIC Resolution reflects the majority sentiment of First Nations in BC, and hopes that the majority of First Nations in BC also believe that Section 35 rights for First Nations, Inuit and Métis People must be reconciled throughout Canada for the collective good.

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About BCMF

The BC Métis Federation (BCMF) is a non-profit association that works with Métis communities to ensure the well being of BCMF members. Through grassroots efforts, BCMF advocates on behalf of its many members, living all across the province.

Relevant links

UBCIC Resolution 2023-39
BCMF initial response
BCMF letter to UBCIC June 16, 2023
BCMF news advisory
BCMF Letter to First Nations Leadership January 10, 2013

Media contacts

Keith Henry
President, BCMF
P: (778) 388-5013
E: K.Henry@BCMetis.com

Malcolm Macpherson
Partner, Clark Wilson LLP
P: (604) 928-4202
E: MMacpherson@cwilson.com

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