Premier Clark must ensure feds back up negotiation promises with federal dollars and resources

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Premier Clark must ensure Monday’s words from the federal government on treaty and related negotiations are backed up with real federal dollars and resources to resolve First Nation title and rights issues and improve economic opportunities across B.C.

“Provincial and federal intransigence have made aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples wait far too long for justice, certainty on the land and a better investment climate throughout B.C.,” said New Democrat leader John Horgan. “The federal government must be at every table with dollars and resources; but that’s not going to happen if Premier Clark doesn’t demand it.”

“The Premier sat on her hands while the federal government withdrew fish resources from treaty tables in B.C., she wasted taxpayer dollars and economic opportunities unnecessarily fighting a losing legal battle with the Tsilhqot’in and she failed to say no to Stephen Harper on Enbridge,” said New Democrat spokesperson for Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser. “It’s time for the premier to finally deliver on reconciliation and on improving certainty in B.C.”

The federal government made new proposals on treaty and non-treaty negotiations Monday, which it says it will act on after another round of discussion. Apart from reversing the earlier removal of fish resources from the treaty table, the federal minister has not indicated that the federal government will help financially support the kind of aboriginal title agreements B.C. will need to move forward with greater certainty and opportunity for investors, working people and communities.

“Finally, two years after receiving the Eyford report, the federal government says it is rethinking its failed approach to reconciliation; but, like the premier, the Harper government always knows what words to say, yet often ends up doing the opposite,” Fraser said. “We need the premier to stand up for B.C. and tell Stephen Harper that the federal government must fulfill its obligations by bringing real dollar and resource commitments to every table where title and rights are negotiated in B.C.”