Caribou calf in a maternity pen near Revelstoke, to protect it from wolves until it is old enough to survive. (Black Press Media)

Indigenous rights plan sparks concern in B.C. communities

Local governments left out of talks on caribou protection

When B.C.’s mayors and councillors gather for their annual convention this month, their top issue is keeping a seat at the table as the province remakes its land use consultation with Indigenous people.

The B.C. NDP government is expected to move ahead as soon as this fall with legislation to enact the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The doctrine of “free, prior and informed consent” on land use has been controversial since the UN declaration was passed a decade ago, with Canada removing its objection to its language in 2016.

The issue emerged this spring as communities found out about the B.C. government’s development of new restrictions on industrial development in caribou habitat. Premier John Horgan appointed Dawson Creek councillor and former B.C. cabinet minister Blair Lekstrom to consult with communities who were left out, after public meetings around the province were filled with people protesting the closed-door talks and effect on local economies.

RELATED: Plans to preserve caribou on hold as B.C. mends fences

RELATED: Forestry, recreation squeezed by B.C. caribou program

The province negotiated a deal with two northern Indigenous communities, the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations, for large areas of caribou habitat in northeast B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson also announced steps toward restrictions on a larger land area, to satisfy demands from Ottawa to avoid an emergency caribou protection order under federal species at risk legislation.

In June, the province accepted Lekstrom’s recommendation to place a two-year moratorium on new forest and mining development in the northeast region and consult with communities on the impact of the plan.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities executive has made the issue its top resolution for the convention. Their resolution calls for “principles of mutual respect, consultation and cooperation” as specified in the Community Charter to be maintained in future.

The UBCM convention runs Sept. 23-27, meeting this year at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre. It’s local governments’ annual opportunity to meet with B.C. cabinet ministers and debate their needs.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FedEx distribution centre coming to Castlegar

Development permit for ground facility before council next week.

Heart, minds, and 100 years of the Nelson library

Past and future collide this year at the Nelson library, and it all kicks off this weekend

Crows, pirates and Segways: L.V. Rogers students make projects out of passions

The Grade 12 students presented their capstone projects Wednesday

Kootenay teams heading for curling provincials

Team Buchy and Team Nichols won the senior playdowns.

On the job hunt with Nelson’s Make A Change Canada

The employment charity is organizing next week’s Kootenay Patricks, Montreal Canadiens game

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

B.C. offers $5 million equipment loan program to help ailing forest contractors

Local politicians in Port McNeill and Campbell River says local economies are struggling

Vancouver Island distillery wins award for best Canadian rye whisky

Shelter Point cleans up at Canadian Whisky Awards

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Most Read