New Minister for B.C.'s treaty negotiations



    VANCOUVER, June 11 /CNW/ - The Treaty Commission is very pleased that
George Abbott has been appointed as the new Minister of Aboriginal Relations
and Reconciliation.
    The Treaty Commission expects the BC government to give First Nation
issues and treaty negotiations a high priority now that its new Cabinet has
been selected. "We had a constructive and valued relationship with the
previous Minister, Michael de Jong, and we wish him well as Attorney General
and House Leader. We look forward to that same kind of relationship and
commitment to treaty negotiations from Mr. Abbott," said Chief Commissioner
Sophie Pierre of the BC Treaty Commission. "This sort of commitment must be
maintained in order to harness the economic benefits that can be achieved
through treaties, to advance relationships with First Nations both inside and
outside the treaty process, and to lead our province into economic recovery."
    "We have a lot of work to do in the treaty process, and the Treaty
Commission sees it as a positive choice that someone with Mr. Abbott's
experience will be the new Minister charged with treaty negotiations for the
Province." Mr. Abbott was formerly Minister of Health, and has experience in
aboriginal issues when he was Minister of Community, Aboriginal and Women's
Services.
    This experience will be necessary as several First Nations are close to
concluding final agreements, including In-SHUCK-ch Nation, Sliammon First
Nation, Yale First Nation and Yekooche Nation.
    The Premier has made The New Relationship with First Nations a priority,
and the Treaty Commission sees treaties as advancing these efforts. Nine other
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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