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

Would-be thieves strike Serious Coffee in Parksville

Shop’s front door smashed Saturday night, alarm scared off intruders

Tips and tricks for making a gingerbread house

Take your time and test your design, says Vancouver Island University instructor

Rotarians from Qualicum Beach Sunrise Club help homeless

Hot breakfast served to those in need

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

GoFundMe helps Vancouver Island teen battle a rare cancer

Nanaimo’s Michelle Reilly, 16, battling spinal cord cancer, seeking possible treatment in U.S.

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

VIDEO: Craft growers will add to recreational market, cannabis producer says

Two B.C. men say their expertise in running small legal medical grow-ops a benefit to recreational market

Most Read