Meeting at Surrey City Hall – Métis Remarks

Surrey BC

Dear Murray and Nicola,

I want to take this opportunity to express appreciation for the opportunity to meet earlier today on behalf of BC Métis Federation Vice President Mr. Daryl Piper and Nova Métis Heritage Association President Ken Fisher. The BC Métis Federation represents Métis people throughout BC and works in conjunction with the Nova Métis Heritage Association that is an organization that represents several thousand Métis people in Surrey.

Our representatives agreed to meet to communicate our collective dissatisfaction regarding negative statements made by a City of Surrey manager and co-worker against another Métis City of Surrey staff member in 2010 as reported in a recent newspaper story published. This was a challenging meeting but one that Métis leadership felt must be addressed and we appreciated and respected each of you for your participation. From our conversation it appears the City of Surrey continues to create a safe work environment through various human resource policies and the effort by the Mayor Diane Watts to introduce herself and share some brief words demonstrated willingness resolve.

Therefore given the heightened emotional reactions of several Métis people in Surrey and across the province in relation to this unfortunate situation we strongly encourage the City of Surrey to resolve this matter without any further delay or having to force further human rights tribunal hearings. We understand that we do not know all of the details in this matter but there is no acceptance for any further inaction given the severity of the racial remarks made against this Métis person in 2010 regardless of any other circumstantial issues. Simply put they are not acceptable and we know the City of Surrey will make increased efforts to resolve. I am confident there are options to resolve with this Métis employee and we trust this can and will be completed in the strictest of confidence.

Going forward Métis leadership offer other solutions to assist the City of Surrey work more closely with the Métis community, of course recognizing that there has been past efforts. First I stress the importance to recognize protocol and support for the Nova Métis Heritage Association. Nova Métis Heritage Association is a Métis representative organization that has been in existence in Surrey for several years and maintains a strong commitment to democracy and cultural programming for their members. Second, I look forward to next steps with the BC Métis Federation to provide cross cultural awareness workshops for the City of Surrey employees and management. These workshops will enable City of Surrey employees to better understand Métis people, our history, and culture.

In closing I recognize the City of Surrey efforts demonstrated a genuine interest to work together and resolve. Having said this it is clear the City of Surrey must resolve the Métis employee matter and we commit to building the relationship, each of these can be completed in a concurrent fashion.
I assure you that we are committed to a positive outcome and we look forward to future work and resolution.

Thank you,
Keith Henry
BC Métis Federation

cc Nova Métis Heritage Association
BC Métis Federation Board Members
BC Métis Federation Members
Barry O’Neil, President Cupe BC
Shaheen Kamadia, CUPE National Rep for City of Surrey Workers & Cupe BC CARD Committee
Jean Kilby, Cupe local 402 1st Vice President – City of Surrey Workers
Michele Alexander, Cupe BC – CARD Committee to Eliminate Racism & Discrimination
Dale Whitford, Cupe BC – Diversity Vice-President Representing Aboriginal Workers

[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/BC-Metis-Federation-Letter-April-3rd-2012.pdf” style=”download”]Download this Letter in PDF format[/ilink]

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