Letter to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister

Honourable Dr. Carolyn Bennett 
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs 
Government of Canada 


Re: Meeting Request 

Dear Minister Bennett,

The BC Métis Federation would like to congratulate you on your appointment as the new Minister for Indigenous and Northern Development. This is an important responsibility and as an organization we are excited to see how the department addressing Métis people in Canada will adjust to the policies and commitments to Métis people from the incoming Liberal Government.

The relationship between the Government of Canada and the BC Métis Federation has been adversarial and extremely disappointing over the past years. Under a previous Federal Government, the BC Métis Federation was excluded from numerous programs administered by the Government of Canada despite that fact BC Métis Federation represents thousands of legitimate Métis constituents throughout BC. The exclusion included access to employment and training programming, cultural and language programs, Aboriginal Representative Organization Program, Post Powley – Membership program, Off Reserve Aboriginal Action Plan participation, and various other initiatives. Ironically the BC Métis Federation continues to be recognized by our own people, industry and various Federal regulatory processes including standing with the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency as we assert section 35 Métis rights.

We are requesting a meeting to review how we can rebuild this relationship between the Government of Canada through Indigenous and Northern Affairs and the BC Métis Federation. Our leadership wants to work cooperatively on a new Nation to Nation approach with you that recognizes the importance of our members’ right to self-government and the role of the BC Métis Federation in this mandate.

We also look forward to follow up on the report from Ministerial Special Representative Mr. Tom Isaac who lead engagement with Métis this past summer. This is the latest Federal Government engagement that demonstrates the importance of work between the Government of Canada and the BC Métis Federation directly and not through other existing Métis organizations who have no legitimate mandate to represent our members or communities.

BC Métis Federation is proud of our work despite the lack of meaningful engagement by the Government of Canada. I encourage a review of our website www.bcmetis.com to review the ongoing work to support culture, language, community engagement and other initiatives that offer the department a strong organization to connect with grassroots Métis people and ensure increased results for Métis people in BC.

We are hopeful that your appointment as Minister will refocus the relationship and we begin a new relationship and start to build support one step at a time. I know you are aware of some of the dynamics and we do not expect you to resolve issues in our community. However as Minister there is an immediate need to address the Federal Government policy of only working with other Métis organizations which has a detrimental and discriminatory affect on the BC Métis Federation and our members access to Federal programs designed to support all Métis people in BC.

I hope a meeting can be arranged in Ottawa at your earliest opportunity to begin new engagement. This can be arranged by officials at k.henry@bcmetis.com or call our offices to set up 1-604-638-7220.

Thank you,

Keith Henry 
BC Métis Federation 
Suite 300-3665 Kingsway 
Vancouver, BC 
V5R 5W2 

[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-letter-to-Indigenous-Minister-Bennett-November-5th-2015-Meeting-Request.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download this letter in PDF format.[/ilink]

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