Outgoing chief commissioner Sophie Pierre is not being replaced to lead the B.C. Treaty Commission.

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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police are seeking public assistance in identifying a suspect and witness of a Dec. 4 sexual assault in Esquimalt. (Black Press Media file photo)
Police seeking suspect, witness of sexual assault of Esquimalt teen

Teen sexually assaulted Dec. 4 after departing number 15 bus

Patrick MacMullan won $28,000 playing Toto. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Greater Victoria man wins $28,000 while watching football

Winning ticket purchased at Colwood convenience store

(Pixabay photo)
Emergency repairs underway on Phillips Road in Sooke

Sewage may have entered DeMamiel Creek and Sooke River

Staff at Artemis Place Secondary were shocked to find that one of the student-built greenhouses on the campus was stolen overnight on Jan. 11. (Artemis Place Society/Facebook)
Saanich school hopes to catch greenhouse thief red-handed

Student-built greenhouses stolen from Artemis Place Secondary on Jan. 11

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Two toucans sit on tree at an unidentified zoo. (Pixabay.com)
BC SPCA calls for ban on exotic animal trade after 50 parrots, toucans pass through YVR

One toucan was found dead and several others were without food

Smaller egg farmers find themselves in a David and Goliath situation when it comes to major producers and chain-grocery store shelf space. (Citizen file)
Vancouver Island egg producer cries foul over ‘Island’ label

Egg farmer frustrated with regulations allowing mainland-laid eggs to be labelled ‘Island’

Police and fire crews at work at a fire scene at Mount Prevost School (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Classes cancelled by fire at a Duncan-area school for the second time this week

Fire this morning at Duncan area middle school follows Monday blaze at nearby elementary

Nanaimo RCMP seek public assistance after numerous tire slashings between Jan. 12-14. (News Bulletin file)
Police seek public’s help after ‘tire slashing spree’ in central Nanaimo

Ten reports of slashed tires in the last three days, say Nanaimo RCMP

Most Read