Letters

LETTERS: Treaty history misses mark

Editor:

Re: A brief history of treaty talks, July 8 BC Views.

Columnist Tom Fletcher raises some contentious points about B.C. treaty talks.

One, Fletcher uses the word “endorsed” to describe the results of the 2002 B.C. provincial referendum on aboriginal treaties. With only 36 per cent of eligible voters having cast a ballot – in which seven per cent were spoiled – it’s difficult to conclude “endorsement” of the government’s stance was achieved.

Two, there was significant opposition to not only the referendum but to Victoria’s position on treaties.

Former judge Thomas Berger harshly criticized the government not only for trying to circumvent aboriginal constitutional rights, but also for previously taking legal action against the 1998 Nisga’a treaty. In a 2002 article, Berger accused the Liberals of asking “the people of the province to give us a mandate to treat aboriginal rights as non-existent.”

As well, attorney-general Geoff Plant pledged that the Liberals would never agree to another Nisga’a-type self-government agreement, which they believed gave First Nations too much power. Victoria was dedicated to imposing a delegated, municipal-style government on natives, a position the referendum was designed to support. Plant went on to add insult to injury when he proclaimed, “you cannot have self-government for 150 people, 50 per cent of whom are FAS or FAE (fetal alcohol syndrome/effect).”

Interestingly, at no time did then-deputy premier Christy Clark ever contradict her government’s actions.

The way forward remains in both recognition of aboriginal constitutional rights, and the sharing of land and resources among all British Columbians, a strategy supported by First Nations.

Bob Burgel, Surrey

 

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Homes without compromise at Harrison Highlands
 
Transit, transportation top civic election issue for Vancouver-area businesses
 
ELECTION 2014: Nominations close Friday, first slate for Coquitlam
Lockdown at research station in Agassiz following Ottawa shooting
 
University Is Free In Germany. Should Canada Copy and Paste?
 
B.C. population reaches 4.6 million
Black Press announces new weekly automotive feature, Driveway
 
Opposition demands Mount Polley reports
 
Mayor Malcolm Brodie to deliver annual address at chamber luncheon