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THE federal government is doing a profound disservice to the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum First Nations by failing so far to ratify their respective land claims treaty agreements in principle.
It’s been more than a year since Kitselas voters accepted their agreement in principle providing cash, land and self government powers and close to a year since Kitsumkalum voters did the same.
The provincial government followed suit last year as well but in the complicated world of land claims, it takes three to tango and the federal government has yet to put on its dancing shoes.
Agreements in principle are not final documents. But they do provide the broad brush details for final treaties, namely cash, land and self government powers.
The mystery is that the federal government doesn’t seem to trust the negotiators it hired who felt comfortable enough with the agreements in principle to have them voted upon by the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum.
More to the point, the federal government risks having Kitselas and Kitsumkalum voters go sour on the idea of treaties.
At a time when the region is on the verge of an economic upswing, the certainty over land and resources treaties will bring is desperately needed. In that sense, the obligation of the federal government extends beyond the Kitselas and Kitselas to include everyone else here.