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.

BC legislature

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

Just Posted

Delta companies asked to contribute through B.C.’s new COVID-19 supply hub

New online hub to co-ordinate, source, expedite supplies and equipment to support front-line workers

Two people fined for trying to re-sell N95 and surgical masks in Delta

Police confiscated over 5,000 masks and are working with Fraser Health to see them put to good use

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

APRIL 4: Two people in Delta fined for trying to re-sell N95 masks

Surrey veteran feels pinch from COVID-19 after cancelled surgery

Caught between two countries, and low income, soldier feels he’s been forgotten

Man injured in reported stabbing near Surrey SkyTrain station

Incident happened around 9 p.m. Friday night

VIDEO: How doctors in Canada will decide who lives and dies if pandemic worsens

Officials in several provinces have been developing guides so that doctors don’t feel alone

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Vancouver man, 21, charged after mother found dead in Squamish home

Ryan Grantham, 21, has been charged with second-degree murder

Fraser Valley’s tulips fields off limits to visitors due to COVID-19

Abbotsford and Chilliwack tulip farmers have announced their festival season won’t go ahead

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Most Read