bmo burrard

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.

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.

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. 

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".

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.

Singh says the Canadian government needs to do more to address and end systemic discrimination. 

Lead photo by

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