Caribou calf in a maternity pen near Revelstoke, to protect it from wolves until it is old enough to survive. (Black Press Media)

Indigenous rights plan sparks concern in B.C. communities

Local governments left out of talks on caribou protection

When B.C.’s mayors and councillors gather for their annual convention this month, their top issue is keeping a seat at the table as the province remakes its land use consultation with Indigenous people.

The B.C. NDP government is expected to move ahead as soon as this fall with legislation to enact the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The doctrine of “free, prior and informed consent” on land use has been controversial since the UN declaration was passed a decade ago, with Canada removing its objection to its language in 2016.

The issue emerged this spring as communities found out about the B.C. government’s development of new restrictions on industrial development in caribou habitat. Premier John Horgan appointed Dawson Creek councillor and former B.C. cabinet minister Blair Lekstrom to consult with communities who were left out, after public meetings around the province were filled with people protesting the closed-door talks and effect on local economies.

RELATED: Plans to preserve caribou on hold as B.C. mends fences

RELATED: Forestry, recreation squeezed by B.C. caribou program

The province negotiated a deal with two northern Indigenous communities, the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations, for large areas of caribou habitat in northeast B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson also announced steps toward restrictions on a larger land area, to satisfy demands from Ottawa to avoid an emergency caribou protection order under federal species at risk legislation.

In June, the province accepted Lekstrom’s recommendation to place a two-year moratorium on new forest and mining development in the northeast region and consult with communities on the impact of the plan.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities executive has made the issue its top resolution for the convention. Their resolution calls for “principles of mutual respect, consultation and cooperation” as specified in the Community Charter to be maintained in future.

The UBCM convention runs Sept. 23-27, meeting this year at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre. It’s local governments’ annual opportunity to meet with B.C. cabinet ministers and debate their needs.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

RDKS issues Boil Water Notice for Thornhill area

Due to roundabout construction, residents and businesses are advised to boil water before consuming

Skeena Voices | A legend off the ice

Joe Pelletier’s love for hockey led him to become a sports writer

Historic downtown tree turned into a work of art

Local artist carves a logger into wooden stump

Police still looking for more info on missing mushroom picker in Nass Valley

65-year-old Greg Agnew was reported missing on Sept. 30

Houston housing needs surveyed

Results to aid District of Houston planning

VIDEO: U.S. officials refute British couple’s ‘accidental’ border-crossing claim

Authorities say couple was arrested after illegal entry from B.C., with $16,000 and marijuana

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

ICBC willing to loosen grip on driver claim data, David Eby says

Private insurers say claims record monopoly keeps them out

B.C. principal suspended for failing to help student who reported inappropriate touching

Principal didn’t remove student from the teacher’s class nor call the parents within a reasonable time

Most Read