Outgoing chief commissioner Sophie Pierre is not being replaced to lead the B.C. Treaty Commission.

B.C. Treaty Commission’s future in doubt

Premier Christy Clark says four treaties in 22 years at a cost of $600 million isn't getting the job done

In its current form, the B.C. Treaty Commission would need a century to settle all the aboriginal land claims that are before it, Premier Christy Clark said Wednesday.

Taking questions for the first time about the sudden cancellation of former cabinet minister George Abbott’s appointment to lead the commission, Clark said she doesn’t know yet if the organization will continue. She emphasized that having only 50 out of 200 B.C. First Nations involved, and painfully slow progress with those, is not enough.

“There have been some results, but four treaties in 22 years for $600 million is not enough result,” Clark said. “We have to be able to move faster, and we have to find a way to include more First Nations in the the process.”

Word of Abbott’s rejection came out late last week, with surprise and disappointment from outgoing chief commissioner Sophie Pierre and commissioners representing the other two parties it represents, the federal government and B.C.’s First Nations Summit.

NDP leader John Horgan said the B.C. government’s sudden decision to leave a key position vacant is a violation of trust with aboriginal communities and Ottawa, which provides the cash for treaty settlements. B.C. provides Crown land once claimed territories are defined.

“I don’t disagree with those who suggest the treaty process can be revitalized,” Horgan said. “You don’t do it by blowing it up without talking to your partners.”

Pierre and others have expressed their own frustrations with the slow pace of progress, particularly from Ottawa. Treaty deals involving a share of salmon runs were put on hold for years while the federal government held an inquiry into the state of Fraser River sockeye runs.

Pierre has also called for forgiveness of the debt piled up by First Nations as negotiations drag on. Money to continue talks is borrowed against future cash settlements for resources extracted from aboriginal territories, leaving the parties with little left to invest in communities.

 

Just Posted

Former Burns Lake mayor gets two years for sexual assaults against minors

The Crown is seeking four to six years federal time; the defence wants 18 months in provincial jail

Access road to Telegraph Creek now open

Ministry has spent $300K to date on work to clear rockslide

Mail destroyed after Canada Post truck flips, catches fire near Prince George

Customers who didn’t get mail they were expecting should contact the sender, the company said

Prince Rupert man who killed foster parents in 2017 receives three-year sentence

A Prince Rupert man convicted in the deaths of his foster parents… Continue reading

VIDEO: A brief history of bumps in the Trudeau-Trump relationship

Remember Peter Navarro saying ‘there’s a special place in hell’ for a foreign leader who aims to cheat?

Man killed in crash due to ‘absolutely treacherous’ conditions on Coquihalla

Winter means icy roads are dangerous and drivers should be careful, RCMP say

Bag of cocaine left in B.C. grocery store aisle

RCMP: ‘We sure would like to talk to’ person who left drugs behind

RCMP officer was justified using hose in rooftop standoff: B.C. watchdog

Police watchdog finds officers actions reasonable when man injured in 2018 incident

Cannabis ice cream? Province prepares for B.C. Bud edibles

Mike Farnworth’s special police unit takes down dispensaries

Union for parole officers at B.C. halfway house says public safety at risk

Increase in parole officers’ workload dealing with highest-risk offenders raises concern

B.C. bans logging in sensitive Silverdaisy area in Skagit River Valley

Minister says no more timber licences will be awarded for the area, also known as the ‘doughnut hole’

Surrey fugitive captured in California was motivated by revenge, $160,000: court documents

Brandon Teixeira, charged with murder, wants to return to Canada ‘as soon as possible,’ says lawyer

Nearly 40% of Canadians want creationism taught in schools: poll

23% of Canadians believe God created humans in the past 10,000 years

Most Read