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In a statement released on Thursday, Tribal Chief Liz Logan states that the government is not living up to its end of the Collaborative Management Agreements, a suite of eight agreements that cover everything from the government-to-government relationship; stewardship of wildlife, parks, and Crown land; development of forestry and oil and gas resources; and the protection of cultural and heritage assets.
“The government just doesn’t seem to be serious in following the agreements,” said Logan in a follow-up interview with Mile 0 City today. “I think out of the eight agreements, perhaps there is only one agreement, one board, that seems to be working well, and that’s in parks. In every other area, there seems to be problems popping up in regards to no meaningful consultation.”
“Our primary goal in all of these agreements was basically to share the responsibility of ensuring resource development is conducted in a strategic, sustainable and honourable manner that is consistent with our rights, and that just does not seem to be happening,” she added.
Logan said one area of particular concern is the lack of consultation regarding wildlife management.
“Wildlife is key to our Treaty, that’s what it’s about, hunting and trapping, et cetera. [The provincial government] didn’t participate at the board for seven months, and during those seven months, they issued over 500 wildlife permits without any consultation.”
She cites the BC Supreme Court decision involving the West Moberly First Nation, the government and First Coal Corporation in March, 2010, as an example of where that consultation is failing. In his decision, the presiding judge found that “the consultation was not sufficiently meaningful, and the accommodation put in place was not reasonable,” and the government had an obligation to implement a protection and augmentation plan, in consultation with the West Moberly community, for a threatened species of caribou before issuing a permit for the company to proceed with mining.
Logan said they have tried to arrange an annual Chiefs-to-Ministers meeting, but several attempts to do so this year have been unsuccessful.
“This Premier has visited Fort St. John three times, and those three times she has never contacted Treaty 8,” said Logan. “Here we are signing off on a government-to-government relationship that says we’re going to enhance our relationship and work together, and yet there is no acknowledgement from the top person in this government, which is very disrespectful in our minds.”
She said a letter has been sent to Mary Polak, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, calling for a Chiefs-to-Ministers forum early next year, but are still awaiting a response. She said if they don’t receive a satisfactory response from the government, they will consider legal remedies to have their issues addressed.
Mile 0 City is awaiting a response from the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and will post that response as soon as it is received.
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