Doig River talks new fiscal framework with Conservative party

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Doig River First Nation representatives recently met with Conservative party representatives to consult on a new framework for resource revenue. 

The Conservative party announced they would start consultations with First Nations groups on an optional revenue framework in a January 24th release.

The proposed model guarantees First Nations groups access to revenue from resource projects on their land. 

Doig River Chief Trevor Makadahay and members of his council met with Conservative party leader Pierre Poilievre to discuss the proposed framework. 

On January 24th, Doig River released a statement about the meeting and its prospects, detailing how consultations with First Nations groups and the First Nations Tax Commission were inclusive of a First Nations Resource Charge (FNRC).

Doig River First Nations stated that the FNRC is “intended to simplify natural resource development applications, make negotiations simpler and more transparent; maintain tax integrity and competitiveness; make shared revenues more secure; create the fiscal requirements for self-determination; and ensure the revenues deliver maximum benefit to participating First Nations.” 

Doig River also stated in the release that they had recently signed a Letter of Agreement with the provincial government that “proposes coordination with British Columbia and the federal government on this initiative.” 

Both the Doig River First Nation and the Conservative party release stated that this optional framework would reduce government bureaucracy and help protect Indigenous rights and freedoms.

The Conservative party also met with other First Nations groups at the same time, including Chief Judy Dejarlais and other members of Blueberry First Nation.

Members of Blueberry First Nations met with Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre (Judy Desjarlais, Linkedin)

Not everyone is so welcoming of the Conservative party’s proposal. In a release on January 25th, NDP critic for Indigenous Relations, Lori Idlout, said in the wake of Poilievre’s “terrible record” on Indigenous reconciliation that this “looks like a damage-control tour.”

The NDP release referenced Poilievre vote against adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People in 2021, a speech he had made for a group criticized for residential school denialism, and an apology Poilievre made after making “hurtful” statements about Indigenous people in 2008.

Idlout called Poilievre’s views on Indigenous rights, healing, and dignity “outdated,” and said he must “catch up with the times of reconciliation.”

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