March 27, 2015
VICTORIA – British Columbians can’t take Premier Christy Clark at her word any more after she derailed the province’s 22-year treaty process on a whim by cancelling the appointment of a new Chief Treaty Commissioner, says John Horgan, Leader of B.C.’s New Democrats.
The premier also said she wasn’t sure if a Treaty Commission should even exist in the future.
“The premier claims she wants to work with First Nations on treaties, but if she’s telling the truth and she really does have some ideas on improving the process, why hasn’t she breathed a word of them to First Nations, to the federal government, even to her own minister?” Horgan said today.
“We have so many people and resource communities waiting for certainty on land and resources rights, and the premier has thrown this whole process into chaos on a whim,” Horgan said.
Sophie Pierre, the current B.C. Treaty Chief Commissioner, also rejected Clark’s version of events.
“I have been asking for a commitment right from the get-go,” Pierre said, in a release from the BC Treaty Commission. “But we seem to be going backwards to a dark time when B.C. questioned the need to engage in treaty negotiations at all.”
Pierre pointed out that the provincial government is already involved in “numerous reviews and processes” with the commission in order to improve treaty negotiations.
“These processes are still in place and are the best opportunity for rethinking how we might better engage with each other,” she said. “You don’t make positive change by unilaterally blocking the Chief Commission appointment.”