What is B.C.’s grand treaty plan?

Removing Abbott from Treaty Commission partnership unexpected

Re: Treaty trouble has deep roots (Guest Shot April 2).

No one would disagree that the British Columbia treaty process hasn’t been as successful as hoped. Indeed, there are also many First Nations who think it is the wrong process of reconciliation altogether.

However, that doesn’t excuse Premier Christy Clark’s recent decision to blindside B.C.’s treaty partners by refusing to appoint George Abbott as head of the B.C. Treaty Commission.

Although it might be comforting to think Premier Clark’s reckless behaviour was done in consultation with the federal government, there is simply no evidence to suggest that.

Not only did Jerry Lampert, the federal government’s appointee to the treaty commission, say Ottawa was as surprised as the other parties to the process, but on March 26, NDP Leader John Horgan stood in the legislature and asked Premier Clark three times whether she had discussed her plans with the federal government, and she did not contradict the words of Mr. Lampert.

If the B.C. Liberal government has a grand plan for reinventing the treaty process, it isn’t sharing it with any of its constitutional partners.

B.C.’s approach to reconciliation needs to be re-energized so First Nations, resource workers and those seeking to bring new investment to B.C. can have certainty.

This means not only fixing the treaty process, but doing more work to find a way forward with First Nations that have chosen a different path. That means working together, not going it alone.

Scott Fraser

NDP Aboriginal Relations spokesperson