First Nation issues must remain a priority



    VANCOUVER, May 13 /CNW/ - The re-election of the Liberals to a third term
in government is good news for the British Columbia treaty process, according
to the BC Treaty Commission.
    "The momentum we have gained in treaty negotiations over the past two
years can be built upon given the priority the Liberal government has placed
on First Nation issues," said Chief Commissioner Sophie Pierre of the BC
Treaty Commission." The economic benefits that can be achieved through
treaties are essential to the overall economic recovery and to the future well
being of our province."
    Through its actions, the BC government, under the leadership of Premier
Gordon Campbell, has demonstrated a commitment to advance relationships with
First Nations both inside and outside the treaty process, said Pierre.
    The Treaty Commission expects the BC government to give First Nation
issues and treaty negotiations a high priority now that the election is over.
One of the immediate challenges for the provincial government will be
explaining to British Columbians how the proposed recognition and
reconciliation act can help progress in treaty negotiations.
    "We look forward to consulting with the parties on how to harmonize the
potential of the recognition act with the treaty process and make sure the
hard work of the parties at the negotiation tables is maintained and
supported," said Pierre.
    Several First Nations are close to concluding final agreements, including
In-SHUCK-ch Nation, Sliammon First Nation, Yale First Nation and Yekooche
Nation.
    Nine First Nations are moving to conclude agreements in principle
including K'omoks First Nation, Namgis Nation, Nazko First Nation, Northern
Shuswap Treaty Society, Oweekeno Nation, Te'Mexw First Nation, Tla-o-qui-aht
First Nation, and two of the Tsimshian First Nations.
    Other First Nations are taking a close look at the two completed treaties
- Tsawwassen First Nation and Maa-nulth First Nations - with a view to moving
ahead.

    About the BC Treaty Commission

    The Treaty Commission is the independent body responsible for overseeing
treaty negotiations among the governments of Canada, BC and First Nations in
BC. It has three roles: facilitation, funding, and public information and
education.
    Established in 1992, the Treaty Commission and six-stage treaty process
are designed to advance treaty negotiations. The Treaty Commission comprises a
provincial appointee, a federal appointee, two First Nations Summit appointees
and a chief commissioner chosen by agreement of all three parties. For more
information about the BC Treaty Commission, please visit bctreaty.net.





For further information:

For further information: Brian Mitchell, Communications Manager, (604)
482-9215 or cellular (604) 788-5190, Brian_Mitchell@bctreatycommission.bc.ca

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BRITISH COLUMBIA TREATY COMMISSION

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