Chemainus businessman Chris Istace has apologized for a remark about First Nations gaming grants. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Chemainus businessman Chris Istace has apologized for a remark about First Nations gaming grants. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Green Party’s Istace apologizes for remark about First Nations gaming grants being a ‘handout’

Island candidate determined to do better in thinking and communicating matters of reconciliation

Chemainus businessman Chris Istace, a BC Green Party candidate in Nanaimo-North Cowichan for the Oct. 24 provincial election, is apologizing for referring to First Nations gaming grants as “handouts” during a Gabriola Island virtual all-candidates debate.

“I unreservedly apologize for using the term handouts and the harm it has caused,” Istace noted in a statement. “I apologized immediately when I realized I had made a mistake and I have learned from this experience. I will do better.

“I do not think that revenue sharing is a ‘handout.’ First Nations deserve that money and far more.”

Related: Green Party pins Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding hopes on Istace

During the debate, the question was raised of how to handle situations where energy projects like TMX, LNG and Site C have been primarily opposed by First Nations communities, but somewhat supported. Istace answered there’s a need to act on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA) and provide First Nations the tools to gain economic sovereignty rather than projects imposed by coercive means.

Doug Routley spoke about the seven per cent of gaming revenue the NDP government (supported by the Greens) agreed to share with First Nations for the next 23 years.

When offered a chance to rebut, Istace indicated he stands by the need to let First Nations govern themselves and have true economic independence and a system handing over money wasn’t solving the root of the problem. He used the word ‘handout’ when referring to the program, and Routley said the gaming revenue wasn’t a ‘handout’ and he believed sharing the gaming revenue was enough for First Nations to build economic independence.

“The comment I made was meant to call out the token efforts of the BC NDP in reconciliation, not to belittle the struggles and strengths of First Nations,” elaborated Istace. “Pretending seven per cent gaming revenue shares from profits made on stolen land is enough in light of all the damage and intergenerational trauma colonialism has and continues to put them through shows a lack of understanding of the depths of that damage.

“In addition to the gaming revenue, the provincial government should be working collaboratively with First Nations to develop sustainable economic projects that will help build local economies,” Istace added. “The way the NDP have treated reconciliation is similar in my eyes to the promise of a one time $1,000 cheque to all voters. Absolutely, this money will help people. But it won’t fix the problem of systemic inequality.”

He went on to say allowing RCMP to point sniper rifles at unarmed land defenders immediately after passing DRIPA can’t be fixed with money and refusing to negotiate with the Wet’suwet’en until billions of dollars was lost in trade and the entire fight became an international issue is not reconciliation.

“I care deeply about solving these issues,” Istace indicated. “I do not think that words and money are enough. We need collaborative, systemic solutions to the systemic inequities faced by First Nations.

“If I have made further mistakes in my thinking and communicating about reconciliation, I am here to listen and learn. I will not shy away from any personal contact on this matter. I am determined to do better.”

BC politicsBC Votes 2020Indigenous

 

Chris Istace is the BC Green Party candidate for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Chris Istace is the BC Green Party candidate for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. (Photo by Don Bodger)

BC Green Party candidate Chris Istace on the ferry to Gabriola Island for some campaigning. (Photo submitted)

BC Green Party candidate Chris Istace on the ferry to Gabriola Island for some campaigning. (Photo submitted)

Chris Istace campaigning at the Gabriola Island Farmers’ Market. (Photo submitted)

Chris Istace campaigning at the Gabriola Island Farmers’ Market. (Photo submitted)

Just Posted

An SUV sits where it crashed through the front window of the 2:18 Run store in Fairfield Plaza, after the driver appeared to lose control on Monday afternoon. (Photo by Phil Nicholls)
Driver crashes through front window of Victoria running store in Fairfield

Phil Nicholls of 2:18 Run said crash sounded like an earthquake at first

Processed sewage is still being deposited at the Hartland landfill rather than sent as biosolids to a Richmond cement plant. (Black Press Media file photo)
Biosolids at Hartland still being placed on landfill in Saanich

Richmond cement plant up and running, but CRD end product not suitable for purpose

Seismic upgrading and expansion work at Victoria High School is about a year behind due to pandemic-related factors, the Greater Victoria School District announced. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Victoria High School seismic work, expansion a year behind schedule

Greater Victoria School District now targeting September 2023 for reopening of historic school

Elk Lake Drive area resident Michael Blayney protests a proposed multi-building development for his Royal Oak neighbourhood, outside Saanich municipal hall on Monday (June 14). (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Demonstrators protest 11-storey development on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich

Saanich locals gather at municipal hall to protest development, public hearing goes Tuesday

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is calling on Transport Canada to rescind its ban to Feb. 28, 2022 on cruise ship stops in Canada, to allow planning to begin in advance of a reopening of the cruise industry next year.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority seeks end to federal ban on cruise ship stops in Canada

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO hopes cruises will resume by 2022

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read