Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Chief says impact of resources key in election

Expand Messages
  • Don Bain
    From: Terry Teegee [mailto:tteegee@cstc.bc.ca] Sent: May-03-13 2:21 PM Subject: Chief says impact of resources key in election Chief says impact of resources
    Message 1 of 1 , May 3 2:51 PM
    • 0 Attachment
      From: Terry Teegee [mailto:tteegee@...]
      Sent: May-03-13 2:21 PM
      Subject: Chief says impact of resources key in election

      Chief says impact of resources key in election


      May 3, 2013

      Peter JAMES
      Citizen staff

      The future of resource development has emerged as a central issue in Northern B.C. during the provincial election campaign, particularly among First Nations.

      Carrier Sekani Tribal Council chief Terry Teegee said the forestry, mining and proposed new oil and gas pipelines all have impacts on the traditional lands of aboriginals and should be discussed during the campaign.

      "There's definitely going to have to be some discussions about cumulative impacts of all these developments," Teegee said. "We understand that there's got to be some economic benefits coming to the region as well as the First Nations but I think British Columbians in general are coming to terms with how we're developing this province in terms of what is going to be allowed to be developed."

      Teegee said social media has allowed for a broader discussion to take place around the impacts of climate change and points to declining moose, salmon and Nechako white sturgeon populations as evidence something is amiss.

      "These are real canaries in the coal mine as we look at how development has really effected us," he said.

      Prince George-Valemount NDP candidate Sherry Ogasawara said her party is committed to holding a summit with First Nations leaders within 100 days of taking office if they win the May 14 vote. She pledged a collaborative approach between a possible NDP government and Aboriginals in B.C.

      "There always has to be an open door of communication," she said. "The consultative process needs to be a two-way process. Indigenous rights are the best defence against Canada's resource rush. First Nations and the decision by Canadians to stand along with them collaboratively determines the fate of the planet."

      At the heart of resource development decisions is the duty governments have to consult with First Nations. Teegee said the situation has improved in recent years, but there's still a long way to go.

      Prince George-Mackenzie Liberal candidate Mike Morris said he believes the government is doing a good job of following through on the direction from the Supreme Court of Canada when it comes to consultation, with improvement still needed.

      Teegee would also like to see more discussions about resolving Aboriginal land claims.

      Prince George-Valemount Liberal candidate Shirley Bond addressed the issue this week at an all-candidates forum hosted by the Prince George Chamber of Commerce.

      "We recognize that when you are looking at development of the economy in British Columbia, one of the biggest concerns is certainty on the land base," she said. "It's essential that we continue to find ways to work constructively. We have some excellent examples of non-treaty settlements that we have put in place with First Nations, we had a goal of 10 of those non-treaty type of agreements to be in place by 2015 and those have already been completed."

      Other issues that Teegee said have have resonance in the First Nations community are the disparity between the north and the south in the province; the relationship between Aborginals and the police - he pointed to a scathing Human Rights Watch report last year titled RCMP closes ranks on abuse - as well as ongoing investigations into missing and murdered women in the region.

      Ogasawara said she recently read a report by the Ending Violence Association of British Columbia which said that there are 33 years worth of reports involving violence against women in general which have not been acted upon adequately.

      "That's terribly unfortunate and it's quite shameful," she said.

      With less than two weeks to go until election day, Morris said he's yet to have any discussions with First Nations leaders during the campaign.

      "I haven't heard from any Aboriginal groups at all - I'm quite surprised - other than I've had one or two phone calls from Aboriginal folks who have known me in the past and say they support me," he said.

      Voter turnout has been on the decline in many demographic groups in recent years and Teegee said thinks that trend can only be reversed if a charismatic leader steps forward. So far during the campaign he said no party leader has provided an inspirational vision for the province.

      "There has to be a person that makes people believes that there's a better future for everybody in British Columbia and I don't think we've seen that in any of these candidates," he said.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.