Treaty commission calls for political will

The head of the B.C. Treaty Commission wants her mandate extended one more year to see if the federal-provincial effort to settle aboriginal land claims has a future after two decades.

Chief Commissioner Sophie Pierre wants her mandate extended one year

The head of the B.C. Treaty Commission wants her mandate extended one more year to see if the federal-provincial effort to settle aboriginal land claims has a future after two decades.

Chief Commissioner Sophie Pierre’s three-year appointment is set to end next March. The former chief and administrator of the Ktunaxa-Kinbasket Tribal Council in southeastern B.C. has tried to speed up progress since her appointment in 2009, a period that saw two treaties implemented and another signed.

As the commission tabled its 19th annual report Wednesday in Victoria, Pierre turned up the heat. She said treaty talks have become “just another program of government” where Ottawa in particular is holding up progress.

“We believe as a commission that with political will, with strong political direction, we could have seven treaties instead of two, right now, and we could have nine comprehensive agreements instead of the one that we have,” Pierre said.

After implementation of the Tsawwassen First Nation treaty in Metro Vancouver and the Maa-Nulth treaty on southwestern Vancouver Island, the Yale treaty in the Fraser Canyon was ratified as the federal government launched an inquiry into the state of Fraser River salmon stocks. That put fish negotiations on hold for all remaining treaties until the inquiry determines what fish there are to divide up.

Jerry Lampert, the federal appointee to the treaty commission, agreed with Pierre that federal negotiators have too narrow a mandate, and have to go back to Ottawa for approval of each area of agreement.

Pierre said Ottawa needs to turn its experienced negotiators loose to do their work, and take things off the table that are not going to be negotiated. If that doesn’t produce results, she said they should shut treaty negotiations down.

B.C. Aboriginal Relations Minister Mary Polak attended the treaty commission news conference, a first since it was established. She said the province remains committed to reaching treaties, despite the B.C. government’s recent emphasis on non-treaty resource agreements.

Premier Christy Clark’s recent jobs plan included a target of 10 new non-treaty agreements with aboriginal people by 2015.

Resource agreements for timber, and more recently mine revenue sharing, have helped to keep the momentum for broader treaties going, Polak said.

Just Posted

Grizzlies split weekend effort against Wranglers

Revelstoke remains first in the conference with 55 points

New development in missing plane near Revelstoke

The family of Ashley Bourgeault believe they have found a new clue

Palumbo nets win in KIJHL debut with Golden Rockets

Female goalie believed to be league’s first to play a full game and win

Outdoor school to start registration

Parents can enrol their children in the new program for South Canoe on Feb. 1.

Mt. Begbie Brewing opens new tasting room

Following a record breaking year and a number of awards, Mt. Begbie Brewing opens a new tasting room

VIDEO: Mt. Begbie to feature experimental brews in new tasting room

Last year Mt. Begbie won brewery of the year at the Canadian Brewing Awards in Ottawa

Brother of B.C. teen killed by stray bullet says the death left a void

Alfred Wong, 15, was gunned down in Vancouver while on his way home from dinner with his family

Cougar window shops at Banff grocery store

An RCMP officer spots a cougar outside an Alberta grocery store

PHOTOS: Revy Stomp transforms community centre

On Saturday night the Selkirk Saddle Club proved it’s far more than just a one-trick pony

PHOTOS: Rail Jam at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

On Saturday night RMR held a killer rail jam at the base of the ski hill

Movie filmed in Castlegar B.C. opens Friday

Hollow in the Land starring Dianna Agron will be playing in select cinemas.

Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

RCMP say it’s just as likely that criminal are getting more clever

Most Read