Open Letter to Métis People – Métis Health

Métis People of British Columbia,

I am writing this letter addressed to Métis people in British Columbia in response to a number of inquiries about the position of the BC Métis Federation in response to the MNBC health survey being conduct at this time entitled the Métis Public Health Surveillance Project.

The BC Métis Federation strongly recommends that Métis individuals provided this MNBC request for more personal information carefully weigh the MNBC indicators as follows:

  1. MNBC has not been transparent or accountable on a variety of issues for years.
  2. MNBC is now requesting more of your personal information so “MNBC can inform the development of programs and policies.”
  3. MNBC suggests they will ensure your privacy but MNBC continues to fail in this regard. I am aware of MNBC citizenship card holders that terminated their MNBC citizenship cards months ago. MNBC was provided clear instructions to immediately remove these individuals from the MNBC central registry. MNBC did not, sent these individuals this last survey and clearly has shown they will disregard the request to immediately return their personal information. This has breached federal privacy legislation by not removing or returning their personal information as directed. I am aware complaints will be filed with the federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada as a result.
  4. Who is the MNBC Ethics Committee, what is their term of reference?
  5. Much of the language is ambiguous and almost contradicts itself. For example on point #9 suggests the data will be destroyed at the end of the project. However, the point #10 states the data will be used beyond the project.
  6. Plus so much more.

The other major issue in the latest MNBC approach to this important project once again focuses on the lack of Métis community consultation by MNBC and their staff. The MNBC documentation suggests clearly that MNBC will take the results of this data to sign agreements with the BC Ministry of Health and the BC Cancer Agency. The question is why? Will communities be consulted if MNBC is signing agreements on information for your families? There is no clarity on the process before any MNBC signings and how MNBC would ensure your input into that process.

The issue of consultation regarding Métis health rears its head this weekend in Vancouver. MNBC has organized a health conference this weekend for the Vancouver Coastal Health region. This health region impacts Vancouver and much of the coast on the mainland. Once more MNBC has had little involvement or consultation with any of the Métis organizations locally and has proceeded without any upfront consultation or meaningful participation. Many of us know MNBC and the Vancouver Métis Cultural Society have separated for a variety of reasons in 2011. However, the hundreds of members in the Vancouver Métis Cultural Society must be consulted as they live and breathe and utilize local health services. It is quite clear MNBC will use this as a leverage to politicize the issues in Vancouver and have likely initiated conversations with individuals to start up a new organization.

Given these dynamics I urge Métis people to reconsider submitting any such personal information to this project and more importantly not to attend the MNBC function this weekend. By attending and participating you endorse these ongoing MNBC governance and program dysfunctional actions.

We respect this is a personal choice but the BC Métis Federation strongly urges you to consider these points given the mounting evidence on gross incompetence.

Thank you,

Keith Henry
British Columbia Métis Federation


[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Letter-to-Metis-People-January-26th-2012-FINAL.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download this letter in PDF format.[/ilink]

[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/MNBC-Health-Survey-Package.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download the MNBC Health Survey Package in PDF format.[/ilink]


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