Hiding in plain site

Astute Public Eye readers have notified your humble organ that yesterday, without fanfare or an accompanying news release, the provincial government posted some details about the so-called New Relationship it's negotiating with British Columbia's aboriginal peoples. Those details had previously been kept under wraps by the West Annex's openess and accountability advocates - although they were available on the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations Website. Better late than never, we suppose.

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I guess we need to watch the web portals Gordon spent so much money building. You would think these places would make it easier to tell us what the government is doing.

In reality it is like finding a book in the library without the name or author without the aid of the dewey decimal system.

Of course they may not know this as they have fired a good number of librarians.

The Aboriginal Affairs ministry or whatever gordo and the gang has been calling it lately removed a great number of their communications staff when first elected. With the previous government anything around treaties was public knowledge, ditto for policy papers, and the results of meetings. At every meeting I ever attended as a RAC member , there were staff passing out literature. There were some minor exceptions but they were few and far between. I recall both the province and the fed negotiator telling some guy that if the observers left, they would leave as well. We all stayed.

But this open an accountable government,( to somebody maybe, but not us) got rid of all that information. The previous government policy papers were no longer available, so almost ten years of information went away.

I find it absolutly insulting that the only way you find out anything around aboriginal issues seems to be checking out a few web sites run my aboriginal groups. Or the federal treaty office. The treaty commission office is still a valuable source of information.

Not the first nations fault no doubt but openess was supposed to be the policy around negotiations.

Hey why bother telling the voters, we have a mandate seems to be the norm.

Mind you the fed brought in a scheme years ago called self taxation. When municipal governments asked, they were told, what's it to you. When self taxation comes in, the local governments lose tax base as so many non first nation people live on reserves. And of course the first nations folks exempted themselves from the self taxation scheme. Being left out of the loop in this modern word of instant communications is sort of weird.

All Is Not Lost

Andrew MacLeod is reporting on TheTyee.ca that the BC Liberals have released a report critical of their WorkFare program - only 9 months after the report was completed!

Intrestingly the report was released on August 3, 2005 and on August 5, 2005 the ministry issued a request for information looking for companies interested in running a new, revamped suite of employment programs. If this isn't a good sign of openess & accountabilty, then I don't know what is.

So all you folks waiting for more information about the New Relationship the BC Liberals are negotiating with British Columbia's aboriginal peoples: Stop whining & whinging - Wait 9 months and maybe you'll get an outdated summary.

Who is this GVI, and why are they making so much sense?

This is strange, like the timber deal with the Haida that was also buried before the election. This "new relationship" deal might not amount to much, but it looks like a positive step involving the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, which hasn't touched the treaty process with a 10-metre pole. Why are they burying good news?

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