(File)

B.C. First Nation ordered to pay $30,000 for ex-chief’s ‘vulgar’ remark

Former Nee Tahi Buhn councillor had filed complaint

The Nee Tahi Buhn First Nation in the Burns Lake area must pay a former band councillor $30,000 after its one-time long-standing chief councillor described her as a “white bastard” in several emails.

The award to Hayley Nielsen was ordered by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal following a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission regarding the conduct of Raymond Morris.

After two days of hearings in November, the tribunal found that Nielsen, whose mother is a member of the First Nation and whose father is Caucasian, was discriminated against because of her racial origin.

Morris used the term “white bastard” in two 2016 emails, with one stating “I resign f—-en white bastards run it.”

Nielsen was elected in 2014, the same time Morris was re-elected as chief. He was defeated in 2018.

Her position of not practising a religion appears to have been the start of a deteriorating relationship with Morris, said a tribunal ruling recently posted online.

At a band assembly in 2016, Morris “loudly proclaimed that since Ms. Nielsen does not practise religion, she should not serve as councillor,” the ruling said.

Nielsen remained in her post, but resigned in 2017 citing a developing toxic environment.

Another councillor, Charity Morris, also resigned because of Morris’ harassment, according to the document, as did Nielsen’s son, deputy chief Cody Reid.

READ MORE: Indigenous mother wins $20,000 discrimination case against Vancouver police

A representative from The Nee Tahi Buhn First Nation attended some of the hearings, but the nation did not enter any evidence nor offer a defence.

“Ms. Nielsen felt directly targeted by these vulgar words, which refer directly to her Caucasian origins,” the tribunal wrote in a decision recently posted online.

“Similarly, Mr. Raymond Morris’s vulgar comments, specifically the terms ‘white bastard,’ are outrageous.”

The $30,000 award was divided into two parts — $5,000 for pain and suffering and $25,000 in lost wages from the time of her resignation in 2017 to the election date the following year. She was also awarded interest of $500.

Nielsen had also asked for a letter of apology to be published on the First Nation’s Facebook page and in the Lakes District News, but the tribunal ruled that was not within its authority to order.

It did, however, order the nation to develop human rights and anti-harassment policies in consultation with the Canadian Human Rights Commission and hire an expert to train employees and councillors.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

No more ferries will sail from Departure Bay, Mill Bay, Brentwood Bay during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Ferries announces major changes to sailing schedules for 60 days starting Saturday, April 4

Suspect arrested after allegedly setting house fire in Cedar

Firefighters arrived to find mobile home ablaze on Barnes Road on Thursday

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Ongoing list of Ladysmith COVID-19 cancellations and closures

Everything in Ladysmith that has been impacted by COVID-19

Woman arrested in Nanaimo after attempted RV break-in with owner inside

Incident happened April 1 in the 700 block of Drake Street

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

Most Read