VICTORIA – New Democrat Leader John Horgan released the following statement in response to the B.C. Liberal cabinet decision to veto the appointment of former cabinet minister George Abbott as the new B.C. Treaty Commissioner:
“It is inexplicable that the B.C. Liberal cabinet would veto Mr. Abbott’s appointment as B.C. Treaty Commissioner, and the premier should act immediately to reverse the decision.
“Mr. Abbott is an excellent choice for the role, and when he informed me of his appointment last fall, I offered him my unqualified support on behalf of the Official Opposition. Through his long career in politics and the private sector, Mr. Abbott has shown he has the skills to bring people together and build meaningful relationships. His experience as Minister of Aboriginal Relations under the B.C. Liberal government would be an invaluable asset.
“Premier Clark wrote in September 2014, ‘With First Nation communities at the table in an atmosphere of recognition and respect, we will all be even better off.’ She was right, but once again Premier Clark has shown that she knows what to say, and even sounds sincere when she says it, but turns around and does what she wants.
“The premier failed to demonstrate any form of leadership by not ensuring Mr. Abbott’s appointment was confirmed by cabinet, and she has weakened considerably not only the treaty making process, but B.C.’s ability to achieve justice and get on with building a stronger economy and stronger communities in an atmosphere of recognition and respect.
“Mr. Abbott has graciously stated that he is still willing to take on the role of B.C. Treaty Commissioner if the premier and B.C. Liberal cabinet do the right thing and reverse their decision. It is clear that all parties involved – including First Nations leaders, the current Treaty Commissioner, Sophie Pierre, and the federal government – support Mr. Abbott’s appointment and would welcome a reversal of this decision.”