Optimism surrounds common table discussions

    VANCOUVER, June 20 /CNW/ - After 12 days of intense talks on some of the
most complex issues in treaty negotiations, First Nations and the governments
of Canada and BC have agreed to continue meeting later this summer.
    In four, three-day sessions facilitated by the Treaty Commission, First
Nation negotiators and senior officials for the other two governments shared
their views on recognition and certainty, including shared territory issues,
and the constitutional status of treaty lands. Also on the table for
discussion were governance and co-management, including structures for shared
decision-making; fiscal relations, including own-source revenue and taxation;
and fisheries.
    The treaty talks, involving 60 First Nations communities and Canada and
BC, ended on a positive note. All parties and the Treaty Commission are
optimistic that these discussions have the potential to move the treaty
process forward.
    A/Chief Commissioner Jody Wilson said, "The discussions at a common table
have been an enormous opportunity for the treaty process and for the parties
to come together to develop options. The tone in the meetings has been
respectful and the parties were well prepared to address the issues."
    The aim of the common table is to bring First Nations together with the
other two governments on key issues and to identify obstacles, remove barriers
and promote the completion of agreements.
    In recognition that progress is being made, the parties agreed Thursday
that discussions on next steps will continue in July.
    "I am very pleased that all parties have accepted the importance of the
common table to deal with some of the most complex and challenging issues
facing the resolution of the land question at individual treaty tables across
the province," added Wilson.
    "I commend the parties for their hard work and commitment, and strongly
encourage them to move forward."

    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
    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 www.bctreaty.net.

For further information:

For further information: Deena Tokaryk, Communications Officer, BC
Treaty Commission, (604) 482-9217 or (604) 329-1571, info@bctreaty.net

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