The Minister responded via email on Wednesday to comments made by Tribal Chief Liz Logan of the Treaty 8 Tribal Association – representing five First Nations communities in the region – who said the provincial government is failing in its commitments to consult with those communities in regards to land and resource management in the region. Specifically, Logan said the government has failed to participate in the boards that were established to implement the eight agreements covered under the EBA, which cover everything from Crown land use and oil and gas development, to heritage and cultural assets and wildlife management.
Polak stated that the difficulty is that the original agreements were signed with four separate resource ministries that have since been combined into the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. She stated that ministry and her own are working to coordinate the best way to move forward under that new structure to meet the requirements of the EBA.
“B.C. continues to be committed to providing Treaty 8 First Nations with a meaningful role in how their territory is managed, speeding up decision making, and sharing the economic wealth generated in the region with the First Nations,” stated the Minister. “The Province has been putting additional resources toward making the agreements work. Both parties must be willing to work together constructively to resolve these issues.”
She said her government is committed to fulfilling the T8TA’s request to hold a Chiefs-to-Ministers meeting early next year, but she stated first a meeting between senior officials of the government and Treaty 8 must happen in January before proceeding with the broader meeting.
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