Initials put to treaty details

NEGOTIATORS for federal and provincial governments and the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum have initialed land claims agreements in principle.

NEGOTIATORS for the federal and provincial governments and the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum have initialed land claims agreements in principle which, if approved, will form the basis for final treaties.

The initialing took place in Vancouver Jan. 22, setting the stage for both First Nations to eventually receive cash, land, resource control and self-governing powers.

Kitselas members are to vote on their agreement in principle Feb. 20 while a firm date for a Kitsumkalum vote has yet to be set.

A simple majority of 50 per cent plus one voter of those who to turn out to vote is required for approval for each agreement in principle.

Approval on the part of the provincial government and approval from the federal side come from within their respective cabinets.

Gerald Wesley, the chief negotiator for the Kitsumkalum and the Kitselas, said there were no substantive changes from details released last fall when a letter of understanding was signed.

The land, 45,406.3 hectares or 454 square miles for Kitsumkalum and 36,158.7 hectares or 362 square miles for Kitselas, comes from the provincial Crown and does not involve private land holdings.

Under treaty negotiations principles in B.C., the province is responsible for land and resource elements while the federal government provides the cash which works out to $44.2 million for Kitsumkalum and $34.7 million for Kitselas.

“But there will be an opportunity in the final treaty negotiations to make changes,” said Wesley.

Agreements in principle aren’t considered binding.

What is lacking in the initialed agreement in principle, just as was the case last fall when information was first released, are details of fishery and marine allotments for the Kitsumkalum and the Kitselas.

That stems from a federal government decision not to negotiate fishery components within treaties pending the release and consideration of the Cohen commission inquiry into the collapse of the Fraser River fishery.

The Cohen commission report was released the middle of last year but recommendations have yet to translate into revised fisheries management policies.

“Fish is still not there and that’s one of the components that must be addressed in the final treaty. It will be a major topic in our final negotiations,” said Wesley.

Final Kitselas and Kitsumkalum treaties are being regarded as not only a base for certainty for the respective First Nations but as a springboard for economic and social development in the region.

And while Wesley did say the emergence of the Idle No More movement has raised the need to address social and economic inequities, he is worried the agreements in principle votes could be affected by people who might view them as being inadequate.

“I’m very concerned there may be an adverse reaction as a result of the Idle No More aspect,” said Wesley.

“It would be extremely disappointing if that was the case.”

Treaties, said Wesley, are a vehicle that can be used to craft new relationships with governments and provide opportunities for advancement.

For more on the Kitsumkalum and Kitselas agreements in principle, see the story “Treaty details in brief” on this same website.

Just Posted

DFO announces openings for chinook

Opportunities are few between widespread closures

Lost Lake closed for fishing due to goldfish invasion

Pet fish is considered an invasive species to B.C. wild

Skeena Voices | Designing a strong identity

Kelly Bapty is the province’s first Indigenous female architect from a B.C. nation

Northwest couples compete at His and Hers golf tournament in Prince Rupert

Kitimat and Smithers couples take home the hardware

Feds announce funds to replace Kitimat’s Haisla River Bridge

Bill Morneau said Ottawa’s $275 million will also help fund high energy-efficient gas turbines

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from B.C. furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Rising gas prices force B.C. residents to rethink summer road trips: poll

63 per cent of respondents reported gas prices are impacting their day-to-day finances

Most Read