NDP’S Proposal is Premature

PRESS RELEASE - July 6, 2009
The UBCIC Executive has reviewed and discussed the BC New Democratic Party’s June 30th letter to Premier Campbell proposing that the Select Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs be mandated to consult with British Columbians on the proposed Recognition and Reconciliation Act.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs stated “Without the availability of the draft legislation to substantially discuss, it is premature for a legislative committee to trek through the province asking for input to a Discussion Paper. Our fear is that an ill-defined, ill-instructed committee will only serve to polarize the issue of reconciliation and act as an open-invitation for those who oppose the recognition of our Title and Rights.”

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs, First Nations Summit and the BC Assembly of First Nations have hosted several regional sessions and have presented at community meetings on the Discussion Paper that contemplates a proposed Recognition and Reconciliation Act.

“It is clear from the community sessions that elements of the Discussion Paper have been rejected and other elements require further reconsideration and refinement. We have heard that a more collaborative and inclusive process is needed for First Nations” said Grand Chief Phillip. “If through that process, there is agreement to proceed to a legislative proposal, the UBCIC anticipates it will require a significant departure from the proposed model in the Discussion Paper.”

For further comment:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
(604) 684-0231

UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.