UBCIC demanding apology from Trudeau for disrespecting chief 

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs issued a letter Wednesday night demanding that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologize for his treatment of its secretary treasurer, and Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson.

“We are writing to convey our absolute condemnation of your condescending and sexist response to UBCIC Secretary-Treasurer Kukpi7 Judy Wilson yesterday afternoon during the Assembly of First Nations meeting in Ottawa,” the letter starts.

Trudeau addressed chiefs at the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly Tuesday afternoon.

During his speech, Trudeau recounted the accomplishments of his government’s three years in office.

After Trudeau took questions, and the first was from Wilson.

“I applaud the work you’re doing on child and family and languages,” Wilson said. “But prime minister, when you’re talking about the United Nations and you’re going to go along with the self-determination and the consent, why wasn’t that applied with the Trans Mountain pipeline (extension)? It’s going through 513 kilometres of our territory – there was no consent.”

“I could say more but I don’t want to go past that. There was no consent on that. You can’t count a few IBA’s (Impact Benefit Agreement) with some of the communities as consent because it’s the proper title holders of those nations that hold the title. And it’s the bands that might have been under duress – but it’s not a proper process.”

(Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson)

It was Trudeau’s response that has the UBCIC demanding an apology after he addressed Wilson by her first name – something the prime minister didn’t do with other chiefs who asked questions.

“I would be careful about minimizing or ascribing reasons for people who take positions that disagree with you… I don’t think we should be criticizing them, just because they disagree with you, Judy.”

The UBCIC said that it is this type of treatment of women sets a dangerous precedent that threatens Indigenous women.

“Your response to her yesterday, from the highest elected office in the country, runs the risk of sending a message to Canadians that it’s ok to belittle, berate and lecture female Indigenous leaders.

“It sends a message that it’s ok to continue these attacks towards our Indigenous women whether it is in the boardroom, meetings or dealing with issues on the land, and it runs the grave risk of discouraging Indigenous women to stand up to defend themselves.”

No chiefs that followed Wilson confronted Trudeau on the exchange.

The Prime Minister’s Office did not respond before this story was posted.

B.C. chiefs are holding a news conference in Ottawa Thursday to address the Trans Canada project.

On Friday, Indigenous leaders meet with Trudeau at a conference in Montreal ahead of the First Minister’s meeting.

More to come.


49 thoughts on “UBCIC demanding apology from Trudeau for disrespecting chief 

  1. If we say the Trudeau needs a lesson in ethics we make a minimized interpretation of his breach of leadership ethics and human protocol.
    He treated Chief Wilson as a faceless one, not entitled to be acknowledged with dignity and respect. To interpret Trudeau’s utterance in response to an accurate and sensible question, such as one posed by Chief Wilson, as being “friendly” is to say friendliness only requires that the friend pat us brown people on the head.

  2. If we say the Trudeau needs a lesson in ethics we make a minimized interpretation of his breach of leadership ethics and human protocol.
    He treated Chief Wilson as a faceless one, not entitled to be acknowledged with dignity and respect. To interpret Trudeau’s utterance in response to an accurate and sensible question, such as one posed by Chief Wilson, as being “friendly” is to say friendliness only requires that the friend pat us brown people on the head.

  3. All Chiefs are to be fully respected. They are to be addressed in a proper manner. He needs to humblely apologise to her, and respect her concerns always. Lucy Fraser

  4. All Chiefs are to be fully respected. They are to be addressed in a proper manner. He needs to humblely apologise to her, and respect her concerns always. Lucy Fraser

  5. Has PMT spoken to other women in power in the manner he did to Chief Judy
    Wilson? Does that not suggest an attitude that is racist? PMT needs to remember he is not in a classroom.
    Hey brother Chiefs, stand with your sister Chief and demand PMT apologize.

    I am Chief Judy Wilson

    Julie D

  6. Has PMT spoken to other women in power in the manner he did to Chief Judy
    Wilson? Does that not suggest an attitude that is racist? PMT needs to remember he is not in a classroom.
    Hey brother Chiefs, stand with your sister Chief and demand PMT apologize.

    I am Chief Judy Wilson

    Julie D

  7. I thought that Chief Wilson actually disrespected those First Nations that entered into Impact Benefit Agreements by not recognizing their freedom of choice. I think both parties in this exchange could have done better.

  8. I thought that Chief Wilson actually disrespected those First Nations that entered into Impact Benefit Agreements by not recognizing their freedom of choice. I think both parties in this exchange could have done better.

  9. I was absolutely, utterly shocked by the disrespectful, paternalistic, condescending response Trudeau gave to Chief Wilson. To not address her by her proper title, to belittle her concerns was terrible behavior and should be called out. My feeling is this is all window dressing on his part, that he fully intends to play his part in this terrible decision to build another pipeline.

  10. Justin Trudeau response to Chief Judy Wilson’s concern and question was seriously inappropriate,yes he should give a public apology.My hope is that the Aboriginal People of Canada listen very carefully to his words and watch his actions and how he responds to them and their needs and ask themselves are his words lining up with his actions on their behalf or is he meeting his own needs.

  11. I’m sorry, but I do not understand how that needs an apology. All of what our terrible PM was trying to get at, is there are plenty of benefits this pipeline could bring indigenous communities and some of the indigenous communities differ in opinion from Judy and want the pipeline too, while Judy was basically implying that she was speaking on behalf of every aboriginal community in Canada. Fact is, some of these communities are relying on this pipeline to get their communities out of poverty or be more self-sufficient, etc. I want an apology from Judy for leading the charge that is trying to stand in the way of a bunch of good jobs for Canada, for stopping a substantial amount of income that comes into Canada that can be put towards social programs, while literally ignoring every other container ship, ferry, coal ships, sewage, etc. I mean my silly request has just as much merit as the silly request here.

  12. @ M McCarthy…That’s the whole problem with all non FNs. You all seem to want to take a “friendly, familiar tone” with all our FNs women. The dismissiveness towards the BC Chief is easily recognizable now as our tribes become more aware and stand up for themselves.

    Yes, the PM attacked a leader of a Nation. Because that’s who this female Chief is, a leader of a Nation.

  13. Well i think he might have finally really done it this time. He is in it up his eyeballs now and i cant say im sorry. Justin has abandoned us all and stood back as he held fairness hearings and insulted our elders. Just the way he treats then tells us they Simone he does not give a s*** about. Indigenous people at all.

  14. Only reading the article, and not seeing the video for context, it feels like three things to me:

    1) It is sexist. It reminds me of an interview that then Prime Minister Kim Campbell did with then Canadian anchor Peter Jennings. After the interview, and once they were off-air, Jennings casually ended the encounter with, “Thanks, Kim.” ‘Thanks, Kim’ to a sitting Prime Minister. Absolutely terrible.

    2) He’s under a huge amount of pressure for this pipeline. From Alberta, from those saying we shouldn’t be doing business with Saudi Arabia, for national security reasons, etc. I think his frustration bled into this exchange. I am not at all excusing his reply; just noting the context.

    3) I think he’s been a political animal his entire life, and if he smells division and weakness, he goes after it. He may be betting that there were people in the room who were silently nodding their heads. Again, not excusing his behaviour; just noting the context.

  15. I was absolutely, utterly shocked by the disrespectful, paternalistic, condescending response Trudeau gave to Chief Wilson. To not address her by her proper title, to belittle her concerns was terrible behavior and should be called out. My feeling is this is all window dressing on his part, that he fully intends to play his part in this terrible decision to build another pipeline.

  16. Justin Trudeau response to Chief Judy Wilson’s concern and question was seriously inappropriate,yes he should give a public apology.My hope is that the Aboriginal People of Canada listen very carefully to his words and watch his actions and how he responds to them and their needs and ask themselves are his words lining up with his actions on their behalf or is he meeting his own needs.

  17. I don’t think calling anyone (that’s not related to you) is disrespectful by addressing them by their first name. Personally I was taught to respect the the relationship if any and age. Titles and designations don’t play a big part in how I address people. My chief is my niece and that’s how I will address her first and last. She has diservitely been honoured with prestigious titles and disignations and for that I have much respect for. And I would much prefer if she simply called me ‘uncle’ rather than elder.

    I think checking out local customs and protocols would be wise. What’s disrespectful here may not be elsewhere.

    Yes this was a man, and a man that holds a high office addressing a woman, and a woman who is First Nations. So yes, society as a whole and governments (including FN governments) needs to change in how it treats Indigenous woman.

    I kind of think the PM would not be terriblely offended if I called him Justin.

    1. And “Justin” is how President Trump has referred to our Prime Minister many times in the past.

  18. I’m sorry, but I do not understand how that needs an apology. All of what our terrible PM was trying to get at, is there are plenty of benefits this pipeline could bring indigenous communities and some of the indigenous communities differ in opinion from Judy and want the pipeline too, while Judy was basically implying that she was speaking on behalf of every aboriginal community in Canada. Fact is, some of these communities are relying on this pipeline to get their communities out of poverty or be more self-sufficient, etc. I want an apology from Judy for leading the charge that is trying to stand in the way of a bunch of good jobs for Canada, for stopping a substantial amount of income that comes into Canada that can be put towards social programs, while literally ignoring every other container ship, ferry, coal ships, sewage, etc. I mean my silly request has just as much merit as the silly request here.

  19. @ M McCarthy…That’s the whole problem with all non FNs. You all seem to want to take a “friendly, familiar tone” with all our FNs women. The dismissiveness towards the BC Chief is easily recognizable now as our tribes become more aware and stand up for themselves.

    Yes, the PM attacked a leader of a Nation. Because that’s who this female Chief is, a leader of a Nation.

  20. Well i think he might have finally really done it this time. He is in it up his eyeballs now and i cant say im sorry. Justin has abandoned us all and stood back as he held fairness hearings and insulted our elders. Just the way he treats then tells us they Simone he does not give a s*** about. Indigenous people at all.

    1. The indigenous people of British Columbia should be thankful that they receive generous contributions from their fellow Canadian citizens allowing them specific and unique rights not available to non-natives. It is shameful that they then turn their backs on an industry that generates a very substantial portion of their revenue in the form of investments. employment and taxpayer benefits, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens it employs. This pipeline will not impair their free and unfettered access to full utilization of their lands and they have had ample and lengthy time to negotiate a fair and equitable agreement.To publically state otherwise and whine about some feminist whohaw. demeans the rest of their band members and slaps the face of their fellow citizens. Reprehensible act by an elected official.

  21. Only reading the article, and not seeing the video for context, it feels like three things to me:

    1) It is sexist. It reminds me of an interview that then Prime Minister Kim Campbell did with then Canadian anchor Peter Jennings. After the interview, and once they were off-air, Jennings casually ended the encounter with, “Thanks, Kim.” ‘Thanks, Kim’ to a sitting Prime Minister. Absolutely terrible.

    2) He’s under a huge amount of pressure for this pipeline. From Alberta, from those saying we shouldn’t be doing business with Saudi Arabia, for national security reasons, etc. I think his frustration bled into this exchange. I am not at all excusing his reply; just noting the context.

    3) I think he’s been a political animal his entire life, and if he smells division and weakness, he goes after it. He may be betting that there were people in the room who were silently nodding their heads. Again, not excusing his behaviour; just noting the context.

  22. I don’t think calling anyone (that’s not related to you) is disrespectful by addressing them by their first name. Personally I was taught to respect the the relationship if any and age. Titles and designations don’t play a big part in how I address people. My chief is my niece and that’s how I will address her first and last. She has diservitely been honoured with prestigious titles and disignations and for that I have much respect for. And I would much prefer if she simply called me ‘uncle’ rather than elder.

    I think checking out local customs and protocols would be wise. What’s disrespectful here may not be elsewhere.

    Yes this was a man, and a man that holds a high office addressing a woman, and a woman who is First Nations. So yes, society as a whole and governments (including FN governments) needs to change in how it treats Indigenous woman.

    I kind of think the PM would not be terriblely offended if I called him Justin.

    1. And “Justin” is how President Trump has referred to our Prime Minister many times in the past.

  23. It is obvious that he is sensitive talking about the pipeline.
    He gave the best answer straight out”I would be careful….people who take post against you” Just those very words are the main concern for me.
    Forgive me, I knew this would go sideways. I did not vote for him.

  24. What a thoroughly unfair and needlessly hostile response from UBCIC. Ms Wilson asks a 4 sentence question, the PM gives a single sentence response…and this is “lecturing”? This is an “attack toward Indigenous women”? Whaaaat???

    Referring to Ms Wilson by her first name is NOT disrespect, it’s to convey a friendly, familiar tone. As a PM would, and has, spoken to the US President as ‘Donald’ Germany’s press as ‘Angela’ Ontario’s premier as ‘Doug’ ….why can he not speak frankly to ‘Judy’?

    M McCarthy

    1. His use of her her first name and the response are condescending. It was noted he treated the men differently. I agree the response maybe scratched very deep, but even though I haven’t dug very deep, I wonder why he chose to call this chief by her first name And not the others.
      We can all expect pms and industry to be challenged until they treat us with dignity and respect.
      He is on traditional land he should at least respect and learn the cultures of the original people. Also we stand between him and his pipeline? Show us some damn respect.

    2. That’s the whole problem with all non FNs. You all seem to want to take a “friendly, familiar tone” with all our FNs women. The dismissiveness towards the BC Chief is easily recognizable now as our tribes become more aware and stand up for themselves.

      Yes, the PM attacked a leader of a Nation. Because that’s who this female Chief is, a leader of a Nation.

    3. It’s very disrespectful to call someone by their first name when in business or a public setting. Judy Wilson is a Neskonlith chief and deserves the repect that that position holds. It seems to me that certain people would be better served with a lesson in ettiquette.

    1. The indigenous people of British Columbia should be thankful that they receive generous contributions from their fellow Canadian citizens allowing them specific and unique rights not available to non-natives. It is shameful that they then turn their backs on an industry that generates a very substantial portion of their revenue in the form of investments. employment and taxpayer benefits, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens it employs. This pipeline will not impair their free and unfettered access to full utilization of their lands and they have had ample and lengthy time to negotiate a fair and equitable agreement.To publically state otherwise and whine about some feminist whohaw. demeans the rest of their band members and slaps the face of their fellow citizens. Reprehensible act by an elected official.

  25. I just saw this now. After watching the assembly I was so angry when I saw how differently Trudeau treated Judy Wilson in comparison to the male chiefs…all buddy buddy like but lecturing her. I just felt like the Chiefs were falling for Trudeau’s line of B.S. and empty promises.
    As I am not indigenous I thought perhaps I lacked understanding regarding how this all works. It’s with relief to find I was wrong.
    Trudeau constantly talks about his feminist views but he sure showed us the true side.
    If and when he apologizes to Judy Wilson I hope no one falls for his cheap empty words and if he cries try your best not to laugh.

  26. PM Trudeau’s remarks were smarmy put-downs, lacking respect and reeking of male privilege.
    Calling yourself a feminist while ignoring the protests of Indigenous women against fish farms, fracking, clearcutting, mining, the pipeline and mancamps in their homelands is “white father knows best” mysogyny at its worst.

    Women are the heartbeat of Indigenous culture. They are caretakers of children, family, elders and environment. They need their homes, lands and waters in order to provide for and educate their children in their own cultures.

    Ramming a pipeline through their homelands against their will says it all. NOT a feminist.

  27. It is obvious that he is sensitive talking about the pipeline.
    He gave the best answer straight out”I would be careful….people who take post against you” Just those very words are the main concern for me.
    Forgive me, I knew this would go sideways. I did not vote for him.

  28. What a thoroughly unfair and needlessly hostile response from UBCIC. Ms Wilson asks a 4 sentence question, the PM gives a single sentence response…and this is “lecturing”? This is an “attack toward Indigenous women”? Whaaaat???

    Referring to Ms Wilson by her first name is NOT disrespect, it’s to convey a friendly, familiar tone. As a PM would, and has, spoken to the US President as ‘Donald’ Germany’s press as ‘Angela’ Ontario’s premier as ‘Doug’ ….why can he not speak frankly to ‘Judy’?

    M McCarthy

    1. His use of her her first name and the response are condescending. It was noted he treated the men differently. I agree the response maybe scratched very deep, but even though I haven’t dug very deep, I wonder why he chose to call this chief by her first name And not the others.
      We can all expect pms and industry to be challenged until they treat us with dignity and respect.
      He is on traditional land he should at least respect and learn the cultures of the original people. Also we stand between him and his pipeline? Show us some damn respect.

    2. That’s the whole problem with all non FNs. You all seem to want to take a “friendly, familiar tone” with all our FNs women. The dismissiveness towards the BC Chief is easily recognizable now as our tribes become more aware and stand up for themselves.

      Yes, the PM attacked a leader of a Nation. Because that’s who this female Chief is, a leader of a Nation.

    3. It’s very disrespectful to call someone by their first name when in business or a public setting. Judy Wilson is a Neskonlith chief and deserves the repect that that position holds. It seems to me that certain people would be better served with a lesson in ettiquette.

  29. I just saw this now. After watching the assembly I was so angry when I saw how differently Trudeau treated Judy Wilson in comparison to the male chiefs…all buddy buddy like but lecturing her. I just felt like the Chiefs were falling for Trudeau’s line of B.S. and empty promises.
    As I am not indigenous I thought perhaps I lacked understanding regarding how this all works. It’s with relief to find I was wrong.
    Trudeau constantly talks about his feminist views but he sure showed us the true side.
    If and when he apologizes to Judy Wilson I hope no one falls for his cheap empty words and if he cries try your best not to laugh.

  30. PM Trudeau’s remarks were smarmy put-downs, lacking respect and reeking of male privilege.
    Calling yourself a feminist while ignoring the protests of Indigenous women against fish farms, fracking, clearcutting, mining, the pipeline and mancamps in their homelands is “white father knows best” mysogyny at its worst.

    Women are the heartbeat of Indigenous culture. They are caretakers of children, family, elders and environment. They need their homes, lands and waters in order to provide for and educate their children in their own cultures.

    Ramming a pipeline through their homelands against their will says it all. NOT a feminist.

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