General News · 12th October 2019
I would like to reply to Steven Brown's post re the above topic.
I am the former Chair of the FAC and I chaired this meeting.
Steven is a brand new member of the committee. He was asked to provide items to be placed on the agenda well ahead of the meeting. He did not do that but chose instead, to present his proposal at the meeting. I explained to him the process for requests of this sort; the proposal is discussed in committee and a vote is taken. If it passes, the proposal is put to the communities. If a majority is in favour, the committee recommends to BCF that the proposal be accepted.
Steven seemed to think he could get immediate approval. It doesn't work that way!
I have included below Steven' post along with my comments.
"Since April 2019, the Nation has been working to solve the inadequate access to healthcare due to BC Ferries’ unreliable service First, the Nation purchased a passenger vehicle and attempted to get priority loading for fast, safe and reliable transit from the Island to Campbell River."
( When this proposal was first presented, it was stated that this service was for Klahoose elders, of which there are a total of 15! I doubt if they bought the van specifically for this purpose.)
"Being good neighbours, we also offered that any extra seats on the vehicle would be open to the public. Unfortunately, BC Ferries prioritizes for-profit, non-Indigenous owned companies instead of supporting First Nations access to healthcare. It should seem obvious that BC Ferries would want to work with First Nations who are willing to implement projects that benefit all Islanders, but unfortunately they give priority loading to shellfish and livestock transport instead of human lives."
( Extra seats for a fee? Is there a priority here for extra passengers? Like: elders first, band members next, “non indigenous” last?
How do you know that BCF prioritizes in the way you described?
If you are promoting this project as a benefit to all Islanders, is this service going to be run on a regular schedule?
What happens if there are no elders with appointments that day? Does the service still run? If you want to be treated as a “bus” service, then you have to act like one.)
" Second, the Nation submitted a request to BC Ferries for priority loading; it was ignored."
( That is incorrect. The request was presented at the FAC meeting, without a request presented to the agenda beforehand. It was received by the chair, discussed briefly and the protocol for these types of requests was explained. Namely, submit the request in writing, the committee discusses it and votes on it. IF it passes, put it out to the communities. If a majority is in favour, recommend to BCF that this be implemented. None of this has been done to this point, mainly because the committee is being reorganized by BCF.)
"Councillor Brown attended a ferry advisory committee in June and requested priority loadings for our health care again with a follow up request in July. After many frustrating conversations, Darin Guenette (BC Ferries Strategy and Community Engagement) assured the Nation that we would get our priority loading. However, due to interference from volunteers on the advisory committee, Mr Guenette retracted his offer, and has stopped all communication while putting the decision of our access to healthcare in the hands of a few, almost all non-Indigenous, volunteers."
(Interference from the committee? Excuse me? The FAC committee represents ALL of the communities of Cortes and Quadra Islands)
"With the Truth and Reconciliation Report, incoming implementation of UNDRIP and the Report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women/Girls, we had hoped that we wouldn’t need to fight so hard to reduce barriers to healthcare or safe transit for our people, especially our young girls and elders. There are currently over five non-profit/community organizations on Cortes Island and the Sister Nations (Homalco, Tla’amin and K’omoks), submitting letters of support for Klahoose. We are looking to our fellow eleven, Naut’sa Mawt, Nations, First Nations Health Authority and Island Health for support as well. We will be taking all of our support to the Minister of Health, Minister of Transportation, leader of the Green Party and Premier. We will continue to work towards adequate access to healthcare even with BC Ferries and an advisory committee making it incredibly challenging."
(This is an attempt to play the “race” card. Truth and Reconciliation has NOTHING to do with this!)
"First Nations or not, all Cortes Islanders are struggling with BC Ferries not meeting the needs of our beautiful home. We are asking that anyone willing would please write a letter of support for our priority loading from Cortes Island to
Campbell River. If you write a letter, please submit them to stevenbrownklahoose.org and the Nation will present them to BC Ferries. This is not something that will only benefit Klahoose First Nation. All residents of Cortes Island will enjoy the benefits of such a helpful service.
Communty mnded thinker
Comment by patricia on 16th October 2019
I am a senior. I don't drive. I have medical appointments plus a need for grocry shopping and many other things in Campbell River. What we need is to have a replacement of the Cortes Connection. That business worked for 40 years and served the whole island. Why do we have to continue taking actions that separate segments of our island's collective population. I don't enjoy asking for rides when I need to go to town. We haven't made the "Rider " card work.
Utterly Unnecessary Language
Comment by Graham Blake on 14th October 2019
It is well within the Klahoose Nation's rights to assert that a corporation wholly owned by the Province should take quite seriously the role they can play in helping the Nation have more secure access to health care services, and to do so in the spirit of cooperation and reconciliation. To call this "an attempt to play the race card" is utterly uncalled for. This is a serious concern put forward by the Klahoose Nation and deserves to be treated seriously, not trivialized and dismissed as a cynical racially motivated ploy. Grow up.
It is one thing to suggest there was a breakdown in communication, argue that the FAC and BC Ferries have so far acted in good faith, and offer constructive recommendations on how to help the Nation move forward with this initiative. This response is by and large not that, and is predominantly a defensive and condescending screed instead. You may not think Steve Brown and the Council's letter was entirely fair, but it was entirely unnecessary to respond to it in this way.
All of us are frustrated by the stress and difficulty of having secure access to appointments in town, especially health appointments, and especially in the summer. I have no doubt that current and former FAC members feel a special level of stress and frustration in dealing with the conflicting grievances of our communities and having very little opportunity to contribute to significant improvements. That's unfortunate. No matter how frustrating that all may be, the Klahoose Nation has every right to publicly air what their perception of these events are and have their point of view responded to in a respectful and serious-minded way. I have every expectation that people will take the Klahoose initiative seriously and respectfully going forward, and I sincerely hope the Council is not discouraged by this ill-conceived rant.
Comment by Ashley Zarbatany on 14th October 2019
Addressing the systemic barriers that Indigenous people, especially women and girls, face is not using a "race card."
There is a very real and brutal problem in this country with gendered colonial violence towards First Nations women and it is ignorant attitudes like this that perpetuate that violence.
As someone who has been deeply impacted by the loss of my friend on the highway of tears, I know that solutions like the one Councillor Brown is proposing are desperately needed across our country. People, and especially Indigenous women, shouldn't have to hitchhike in order to exercise our mobility rights. Public transportation options, in a myriad of forms, should be encouraged and taken seriously because issues of safety are very real.
Not only is Councillor Brown's idea a good idea for reducing car usage of the ferry, it is a solid solution for reducing mobility barriers on the island and Cortesians should support it.
Comment by Brittany Baxter on 14th October 2019
Not only are Paul Ryan's opinions staggeringly offensive because of his deeply colonial and patronizing tone and a profound misunderstanding of the work of Truth and Reconciliation, but he also seems to clearly miss the point. While Mr. Ryan is furiously focusing on the minutiae of FAC meeting "protocols", the majority of the Cortes community, including our summer visitors, are out here wholeheartedly supporting the Klahoose Bus priority loading proposal, as evidenced by all of our major community consultation processes (LEAP, Cortes Island Transportation Study, OCP) where we continually prioritize and support both alternative transportation options and efforts towards Reconciliation. I sincerely hope that the reorganization of the FAC results in representation that looks out for our actual needs (protecting our Elders and Indigenous communities, mitigating climate change, etc.) instead of holding onto the kind of harmful opinions and poor behaviour evidenced here from Paul Ryan.
Thank you, Klahoose
Comment by Carrie Saxifrage on 14th October 2019
I really hope this succeeds and that the Klahoose elders don't have to worry about making it to medical appointments, especially in the summer. Thank you for including the rest of us in your plans.
Comment by Blanca on 13th October 2019
It is my understanding that priority is given through the transport ministry, rather than BC ferries.
Comment by Paul Ryan on 13th October 2019
I should add that during our discussion re this proposal, a suggestion was made to incorporate this into the assured loading sailings on Mondays and Thursdays. Give the van assured loading on the 7:50 (so they don't have to line up) which woul then put them on the 9am assured loading sailing from Q Cove!
Their original proposal asked for Tuesdays and Fridays on the 9:50 and 11am sailings. The committee asked Mr Brown to take this back to the Band Council. He REFUSED!