VICTORIA - Today, Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister Ida Chong highlighted the B.C. government's recent successes in reaching agreements that bring benefits to First Nations communities:
"As 2012 comes to a close, I take great pride in the progress we have made in reaching agreements that support the BC Jobs Plan by strengthening relationships with First Nations, while creating a climate where resource industries can flourish.
"Nanwakolas Council president Dallas Smith has spoken passionately about the benefits this approach has brought to Nanwakolas communities on Vancouver Island and the Coast. Through our partnerships and agreements, Nanwakolas has been able to hire a dozen staff to work on the many permitting requests in that region, building capacity within the First Nations and producing certainty for industry."
In 2012, the B.C. government has made great progress in creating certainty for resource development while improving life for First Nations communities and helping them to build their economic strength. The following are highlights of the past year, which illustrate our co-operative approach:
- The renewed Nanwakolas Strategic Engagement Agreement increases investment certainty while strengthening Nanwakolas's relationship with the provincial government: http://ow.ly/gcEGB. To download B-roll video: http://sendtonews.com?SK=t7vziKETKE
- The Kaska Strategic Engagement Agreement provides greater certainty on how resource development in more than 10 per cent of the province can proceed: http://ow.ly/gcELj
- Economic benefits and oil and gas consultation agreements with the Fort Nelson First Nation benefit B.C.'s Northeast by establishing a clear process for consultation and management of lands and resources: http://ow.ly/gcFu9
- The Haisla Framework Agreement will spur the development of another natural gas export facility in B.C.'s Northwest: http://ow.ly/geHpp
- The K'ómoks First Nation Agreement-in-Principle is a significant step toward a treaty that will bring increased certainty on the land and direct economic benefits to the K'ómoks people and surrounding communities: http://ow.ly/gcFxi
- A reconciliation agreement with the Gitanyow Nation will lead to shared decision-making in an area covering 6,285 square kilometres and allow the Gitanyow to explore economic opportunities associated with the development of the Northwest Transmission Line: http://ow.ly/gcFzN
- The Nak'azdli Economic Community Development Agreement (ECDA) on mining revenue-sharing creates certainty for the Mount Milligan mine project. With the signing of this agreement, B.C. now has three ECDAs, and further negotiations are underway for more: http://ow.ly/gcFGh
- A strategic engagement agreement pilot with 12 Sto:lo First Nations creates a more streamlined consultation process for industry in the Fraser Valley: http://ow.ly/gcFIV
- An incremental treaty agreement with the Nazko First Nation will expand economic development and job creation opportunities, and provide benefits to the First Nation in advance of a treaty final agreement: http://ow.ly/giwpC
- B.C.'s forest consultation and revenue sharing agreements provide economic benefits directly to First Nations communities based on forestry activity in their traditional territories. Since 2010, B.C. has signed nearly 100 of these agreements with First Nations throughout the province.
- The B.C. treaty process is also maintaining momentum, with strong progress at treaty tables across the province. This year saw the Tla'amin community vote in favour of their final agreement, as well as B.C. and Canada signing an agreement-in-principle with the K'ómoks First Nation.
A key part of the BC Jobs Plan is government's commitment to improving opportunities and resources for First Nations to participate in resource activity in their traditional territory. The agreements reached this year underscore an innovative approach that supports economic growth and job creation - not only for the First Nations involved, but for neighbouring communities. Strengthening government's relationships with First Nations creates benefits for all British Columbians.
Video of Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Ida Chong discussing key agreements with First Nations: On SendToNews: http://sendtonews.com?SK=t7vziKETKE
On YouTube: http://ow.ly/gcG7P
Dallas Smith, president of the Nanwakolas Council Society, on the Nanwakolas Strategic Engagement Agreement -
"We are happy to see our Strategic Engagement Agreement renewed, as it is the foundation of our evolving relationship with the government of British Columbia. This three-year renewal gives us the time and opportunity to continue taking this relationship to a place that provides for greater economic certainty that will create much needed jobs for the North Island region."
Greg D'Avignon, president and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia -
"British Columbia businesses and First Nations require certainty, clarity, and capacity to sustainably manage the land base and take advantage of the generational opportunities before our province and its economy. The respectful and collaborative shift toward economic development agreements that bring First Nations into the economic fabric of the province has been an important development in the ongoing efforts to reconcile Aboriginal rights and title interests with our opportunities as a province. The Business Council of BC is a strong supporter of the certainty and shared prosperity that innovative and competitive development agreements bring to our resource sectors and our members encourage the ongoing pursuit of such agreements as being in the interest of all British Columbians."
Ellis Ross, chief councillor of the Haisla Nation, on the Haisla Framework Agreement -
"This agreement allows the Haisla to look at the land on the west side of the Douglas Channel in a different light. This gives the Haisla and associated projects the certainty needed for the liquefied natural gas proposals and other projects coming forward for our territory. If we are able to do this, the Haisla people will benefit, as will all British Columbians and Canadians."
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
250 213-6451 (cell)