People are accusing BMO of racism after mistreatment of Indigenous man
Canadians are reacting to a recent incident at a Bank of Montreal branch in Downtown Vancouver involving an Indigenous man and his granddaughter who were handcuffed and detained after trying to open a bank account.
CBC News first reported on the incident yesterday. The report said that 56-year-old Maxwell Johnson and his 12-year-old grand daughter attended an appointment at BMO's Burrard Street location in downtown Vancouver, on December 20, 2019.
Maxwell Johnson and his 12-year-old granddaughter were handcuffed in front of a Bank of Montreal in Vancouver.— CBC News (@CBCNews) January 9, 2020
They went there to open a bank account so he could transfer money to her when she was on the road for basketball games. https://t.co/z9oe8K6KKW @AngelaSterritt
Johnson wanted to open an account for his granddaughter, but was met with suspicion when an employee questioned the identification he and his granddaughter presented.
Johnson says the employee then told them to come upstairs to retrieve their identification. Not long after, they saw police walking toward them.
Whoever called the police on these nice people should lose their job @BMO This is enraging. https://t.co/BVdbVVvYof— Terrill Tailfeathers (@Terrilltf) January 9, 2020
According to CBC News, Johnson and his granddaughter were then handcuffed and told they we were being detained.
The incident has sparked a lot of anger from Canadians who are accusing the bank of racism.
Assembly of First Nations National Chief, Perry Bellegarde, urged BMO to publicly state what they plan to do to address this to ensure an incident of this nature never happens again.
BMO responded on Twitter yesterday afternoon, saying the incident will serve as a learning opportunity for the institution.
We are reviewing what took place, how it was handled, and will use this as a learning opportunity. We understand the importance and seriousness of this situation at the highest levels at the bank.— BMO (@BMO) January 9, 2020
For many, the apology from BMO fell short. One person said that the humiliation and trauma felt by Johnson and his granddaughter goes further than just a "learning opportunity".
A “learning opportunity”?!? Is that how you think this 12 year old girl feels. Or her grandfather? They’re just chalking it up as a learning experience?! You’ve TRAUMATIZED a little girl and HUMILIATED this man. A corporate apology is NOT enough!! #racialprofiling #racism— Carmen Larsen (@cllarsen11) January 10, 2020
Leader of the NDP, Jagmeet Singh, responded on Twitter saying that Racial profiling is a massive problem that Indigenous and racialized people across the country face every day.
It's terrible that Mr. Johnson and his granddaughter were put through this.— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) January 9, 2020
Racial profiling is a massive problem that Indigenous and racialized people across the country face every day. Our government needs to do more to address and end systemic discrimination. https://t.co/qPlhVTdLU8
Singh says the Canadian government needs to do more to address and end systemic discrimination.
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