Métis Engagement in BC

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Re: Métis Engagement in BC

Dear Federal Minister Bennett and Provincial Minister Rustad:

I write today to continue to request the Federal and Provincial Governments to re-assess the position that the only recognized political organization representing Métis people in British Columbia is the Métis Nation BC.

As each of your offices is well aware Métis representation and who is speaking for Métis people has been central to our requests to meet with each of our offices over the years. Despite the lack of Federal and Provincial Government inclusion for all Métis people, BC Métis Federation has continued building since being established in June of 2011 and has achieved recognition with several industry projects, National Energy Board, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, etc. and today we are delivering new youth projects funded through Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). We are proud to realize progress and this has been created by our years of dedication to our Métis culture through community cultural events and festivals which has gained the confidence of thousands of Métis people throughout BC.

Despite our past differences between the BC Métis Federation and the Métis Nation BC we reached out once again this past December to request a meeting in an attempt to try to find common ground and work together. There is no question that despite public statements and rhetoric, neither the Métis Nation BC nor BC Métis Federation has a legitimate majority standing to represent the estimated 70,000 self identified Métis in BC. Unfortunately, due to the current Federal and Provincial policy positions, programs and services provided by Métis Nation BC, allegedly on behalf of the Métis in BC, do not allow our thousands of members to access. This is wrong and this issue must be addressed in all areas of social economic supportive programs as some of our members have substantial needs and are falling through the cracks.

This situation continues to increase as the recent letter from Métis Nation BC (enclosed) demonstrates why. BC Métis Federation has always maintained that we welcome any opportunity to meet with Métis Nation BC. We have met with Federal and Provincial officials and Minister’s over the years who continue to suggest that we address Métis issues internally with the Métis Nation BC. For years Métis Nation BC has ignored requests to meet and this latest Métis Nation BC letter illustrates that this organization does not have the capacity to understand Métis governance. They personalize and dismiss solutions and deflect with loaded ambiguous language that serves no productive outcomes for the betterment of our Métis people collectively in British Columbia.

As we have stated in the past BC Métis Federation respects the Métis Nation BC’s ability to represent the interests of their members. Métis Nation BC has every right to deliver programs and services for their members but as we have claimed repeatedly Métis Nation BC does not provide programs for our members, does not speak on our behalf and we need to explore additional ways for governments to engage with our organization. The Métis Nation BC President suggests my current and past criticisms are outrageous and incorrect yet the issues which led to the formation of the

BC Métis Federation in June of 2011 have all been realized. Métis people in BC remember that BC Métis Federation was previously the Coalition of Concerned Métis Citizens (CCMC) and due to the major concerns at that time we led a significant process to ensure Métis Nation BC was put back on the right path. I have attached our solution document we designed in 2011 which, if read, would have demonstrated a stronger path forward and unfortunately for Métis Nation BC today, most of the issue have come to reality.

We want to meet to share our vision for our members and partners. We do not to debate these Métis Nation BC issues and it is up to their leadership and members to address the significant financial insolvency and other governance issues facing that organization. However Federal and Provincial Governments need to stop deflecting our desire to work for the betterment of our thousands of Métis members. We want to create a stronger future based on support for reconciliation, addressing the social economic needs of our members and creating a much stronger Métis cultural impact of our future generations of Métis children and families.

I am requesting a meeting to continue to build a positive relationship. We need to work together to create a more positive path forward for all Métis.

I can be reached 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

Letter sent via email and CC’d to the following:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark
British Columbia Parliamentary Secretary for Métis in BC
Ian Ketcheson, INAC Director for Métis and Non-Status
BC Métis Federation Board Members
BC Métis Federation Members

Documents enclosed:

Métis Nation BC Letter to BC Metis Federation January 2017
BC Métis Federation Letter to Métis Nation BC December 2016
CCMC Blueprint Document February 2011

 [ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-letter-to-Minister-Bennett-and-Minister-Rustad-January-31st-2017-Metis-Policy.pdf” style=”download”]Download the above letter to Honourable Dr. Carolyn Bennett & Honourable John Rustad as a PDF[/ilink]

[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/BC-Metis-Federation-Invite-to-MNBC-December-12th-2016-1.pdf” style=”download”]Download the BC Métis Federation Letter to Métis Nation BC December 2016, as a PDF[/ilink]

[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/MNBC-Letter-to-BCMF-January-20171.pdf” style=”download”]Download the Métis Nation BC Letter to BC Metis Federation January 2017, as a PDF[/ilink]

[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/CCMC-Blueprint-Document-February-20111.pdf” style=”download”]Download the CCMC Blueprint Document February 2011, as a PDF[/ilink]


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