Just doing his duty

Earlier today, Public Eye reported rumours that former attorney general Geoff Plant was now working for aboriginal relations and reconciliation. Scrummed by your humble organ and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.'s Jeff Davies, Minister Tom Christensen confirmed Mr. Plant had been retained - through his law firm Heenan Blaikie LLP - to assist government "with some legal and policy advice with respect to treaty negotiations and aboriginal issues specific to the New Relationship." Mr. Christensen also said the ministry was "talking to him as to whether we may be able to retain him as a senior advisor to provide some assistance" at the Haida Nation negotiating table.

The minister also fielded questions as to why Mr. Plant's hiring doesn't violate the Members' Conflict of Interest Act. That legislation states government cannot "award or approve a contract with, or grant a benefit to, a former member of the Executive Council or former parliamentary secretary, until 24 months have expired after the date when the former member of the Executive Council or former parliamentary secretary ceased to hold office." But it turns out that provision doesn't apply to "contracts or benefits in respect of further duties in the service of the government." And, according to the conflict of interest commissioner H.A.D. Oliver that's what this contract is. The following is a complete transcript of that scrum.

***

Public Eye Earlier this summer, your communications office refused to say whether or not Geoff Plant was working for the ministry. Now we hear that Geoff Plant is perhaps working for your ministry in some kind of capacity. What exactly is Geoff Plant doing?

Minister Christensen Just recently, in the last few weeks, government has entered into a contract with Heenan Blaikie - the law firm that Geoff works at, and it's for Geoff specifically - to assist us with some legal and policy advice with respect to treaty negotiations and aboriginal issues specific to the New Relationship. So we're certainly very appreciative of being able to have that assistance.

Public Eye What about the conflict of interest...

Minister Christensen Obviously, we need to be...

Public Eye I'm sure you anticipated this question.

Minister Christensen Yes. We certainly needed to be very mindful of the members' conflict of interest act. The whole matter has been thoroughly reviewed so that we could move forward within the parameters of the act. And I think it's a great deal for the taxpayers of British Columbia in that we are able to retain somebody who has both an in-depth knowledge of aboriginal law from his background in legal practice - as well as the practical knowledge of having served as attorney general and the ministry responsible for treaty negotiations. And just brings a great deal of skill and expertise to the file.

Public Eye And is he going to be chief negotiator for the Haida table?

Minister Christensen No. That is not the subject of the retainer. We are looking at what we want to do around Haida. I don't contemplate we would have Geoff as a chief negotiator there. But we are talking to him as to whether we may be able to retain him as a senior advisor to provide some assistance on that file.

Public Eye On the Haida table?

Minister Christensen On the Haida table. Yes.

Mr. Davies Doesn't this create the appearance he's trading on inside knowledge he obtained when he was attorney general?

Minister Christensen Not at all. He'll be working for the government of British Columbia. So he is pursuing the government's interest in those negotiations. He's reporting to government. And there is nothing that's contrary to the public interest in what Geoff may be doing for the province.

Public Eye The Members' Conflict of Interest Act states that executive council is not allowed to give a benefit or contract to a former member of executive council within 24 months of him sitting on the executive...

Minister Christensen That's why it's important that we review the whole matter with the conflict of interest commissioner and be certain that the work we are retaining Geoff to do is within the parameters of the act.

Public Eye How is this not a benefit or contract though?

Minister Christensen Certainly, there is a benefit to the province. There is obviously a financial benefit to Heenan Blaikie. And then indirectly to Mr. Plant. But it is within what the members' conflict of interest act allows. And, clearly, the work he is doing is consistent with the expertise he is able to bring to that work by virtue of having been a member of executive council.

Public Eye Doesn't this open the door to, for example, "Hey, Graham Bruce! You're without a job. Let's get you with some expertise on this labour file!"

Minister Christensen Well, again, anytime that we have people who have formerly served in government that may bring a particular expertise to a matter, I think it's in the best interest of British Columbians that we at least consider them to pursue that work. And, in the case of Mr. Plant, he clearly brings a great depth of knowledge to this file, a great depth of experience to this file. And it is in the best interest of the province that we retain him.

37 Comments

It has always struck me that Campbell has borrowed heavily from the tactics and rhetoric of the right wing of America politics, so this cronyism should surprise no one. The one encouraging thing is that, while they got away with it for 6 years, those tactics seem to be about to cause an implosion of the the Bush administration. If Campbell follows the same trajectory, he and his party won't be presiding over the 2010 Olympics.

wstander--

a.k.a 'trickle-down' cronyism


It is so puzzling why any Canadian politician would see any need to be American in our Canadian politics.

Democracy is supposed to work on its own merits so our own Canadian form of it (and we make and remake it) should be good enough for us. Market economies are likewise supposed to work on their own merits so we should not have to artificially emulate an American model. Canada is not building a global economic empire so we don't need to, should not, emulate the US's industrial complex.We are a people of the north so have our own unique culture, and will continue to develop differently then mid-latitude cultures. We are Canadian and have to find our own way that works for us. Trying to be like someone else is going to hurt us more than it will help.

Eugene Parks
Proud to be Canadian


It is so puzzling why any Canadian politician would see any need to be American in our Canadian politics.

Democracy is supposed to work on its own merits so our own Canadian form of it should be good enough for us (as we make and remake it). Market economies are likewise supposed to work on their own merits so we should not have to artificially emulate an American model. Canada is not building a global economic empire so we don't need to, should not, emulate the US's industrial complex. We are a people of the north so have our own unique culture, and will continue to develop differently then mid-latitude cultures. We are Canadian and have to find our own way that works for us. Trying to be like someone else is going to hurt us more than it will help.

Eugene Parks
Proud to be Canadian

Would seem to me that Plant is widely respected for his work on the treaty file. Why not keep him involved?

I would hardly consider this feather-bedding. Makes no sense to me to deny capable people a chance to help government solve problems, as long as the process for involving them is transparent.

Um, how is this patronage (this "cronyism") in anyway American?? Look at every past provincial (NDP or SC, Lib) and federal government (Lib or Cons) - they've done it, and there are worse examples than this one. I hate it, but governments appointing their friends to patronage posts is as Canadian as Maple syrup.

Steve,

I think wstander is saying Plant's politics is American... the patronage is maple syrup, which is a different matter. Was it Plant that thought that reserves were just municipalities wannabies?

Clearly Geoff Plant is a friend of government and the issue of cronyism can be raised if there is an issue of qualifications to do the work. But in his case there are few better qualified to work in the role described. The negotiations are political and legal in nature - who better than him?

I am unaware of anytime when Geoff Plant raised the issue of municipal status for First Nations, though I could be worng on this. One must keep in mind that the current attitude and negotiation position of the Federal Liberal government is to ensure First Nations do not even attain municipal status and remain wards of the state. Gettign some manner of municipal standing would be a huge step forward for First Nations

"Gettign some manner of municipal standing would be a huge step forward for First Nations"

No... Entirely Wrong

Legally, reserves are not wards of the state; they have treaty status with the state.

Reserves are principalities and not municipalities... think Channel Islands, Wales, and Scotland and their relationship to England, or Monaco’s relationship to France... not municipalities like Essex to England, or say Victoria to BC.

The fact that people think of reserves as wards of the state, and treat them as such, demonstrates a prejudice and not a legal or historical fact. Full treatment as principalities was the legal status since the royal proclamation… it is the legal status now… and it is how they ought to be treated and respected. Not treating reserves as they legally are, as principalities, and instead treating them as something less than municipalities, is the problem.

Going backwards in legal status to mere municipalities further destroys the legal identity of aboriginal people as both a principality under the crown and nations under the crown. Making reserves municipalities is nothing more than the final solution for complete assimilation of all aboriginal title – destroying existing legal title and legal identity.

I left conservative politics because of ignorant solutions like the one you just proposed... I'm willing to engage you on this topic in a serious way, but I will call a spade a spade.

He Bernard- try this-the author is Thomas Berger


"In 1999, when he was leader of the official Opposition, Campbell and his now Attorney-General Geoff Plant brought a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Nisga'a Treaty on this very ground. He argued that First Nations have no inherent right to self-government under the Constitution, but only such powers as are delegated to them by Canada and B.C. He asked the B.C. Supreme Court to answer "Yes" to this question....


In Campbell's lawsuit, the issue came to this:

Is the Nisga'a government to be a kind of municipal government, its powers of self-government, even in areas vital to Nisga'a interests, to be handed over by the federal and provincial governments and which can be lost at any time if those governments decide to take them back?"

One of the characteristics of cronyism isn't only that you hire your friends, but you hire them after they leave government, where they functioned as relatively low paid "public servants" and pay them private sector remuneration. It will be interesting to see how much Plant gets paid for this.

By the way, Campbell and Plant lost the law suit, but you and I paid for it anyway. In a show of generosity the government (who won the case)decided not to ask for the court costs they were entitled to collect from the losers Plant and Campbell. The government can now use the money they forgave in court costs to help pay Plant. Now there's a hell of a deal- if you are Plant. Not so great if you are a taxpayer.

"By the way, Campbell and Plant lost the law suit"

I have no personal grudge against Campbell or Plant, but if they are going to be negotiators for BC they should at least get the situation.

Aboriginal title negotiations are primarily between the crown and aboriginal peoples, which means Canada by default and First Nations (some would also argue international courts as well)... the situation is not one of municipal land use management under provincial jurisdiction. The situation falls under treaty law.

Until Plant and Campbell fully grasp the situation, their participation in the process will continue to be mostly irrelevant, which does not serve the interests of either the citizens of BC or aboriginal communities. Informed co-operating partners is in everybody's best interests.

The issue of the status of self governance was an important legal issue to be discussed before the courts. The Federal and Provicial government have taken the position that the full gamut of powers are only available to those two levels of government.

To reiterate, there is only one Crown in Canada that is split in powers between the provinces and Ottawa. The argument, and one that has always been expoused by the Crowns, is that there is no space for anyone else to have any manner of "Crown Like" power. Read the case again, you will see in the nuances of Canada's arguments that the Federal Government does not believe they surrendered any powers to Nisga'a that have a constitutional relevance.

The position of the Federal government is that BC and Canada have delegated some limited municipal powers to the Nisga's within the bounds of the Treaty. The fact that this governance is within the Treaty constitutionalizes the Nisga'a government. The argument at the time was about if the Federal and provicial government had the right to surrender some of the authority of the crown to the Nisga'a. This was not about municipal status or not.

Where is the evidence of Plant saying anything about First Nations should be municipalities?

The current status of Indian Reserves is that they are the property of the Federal government. The Indian Act presumes First Nations are incapable of self governance and the act presumes aborginal people are wards of the state. The current Indian Act is many times worse than municipal governance. No matter how much anyone does not want this to be the case, they are not anything but full on wards of the Federal government.

To date no one has argued before the supreme court of Canada the scope and degree of the potential of self governance of First Nations in BC. Clearly there is some scope of a limit on the Crown's soveriegnty, but to date no useful case has asked the right questions.

The Treaty negotiations in BC are hampered because we have a Federal Liberal government that will not abadon their Comphrehensive Claims policy which requires the surrender of all aboriginal title and rights in return for negotiated Treaty rights.

To put this in another context, image that the Federal government said "OK, you can have a defined constitution with rights, but first you must agree that you have no rights and if you had any rights before that they are all extinguished" This is what Canada is asking the First Nations to do and this was designed by Jean Cretien and Pierre Trudeau.

We have seen no meaningful movement from the extinguishment model. In the case of the Nisga'a this means that have extinguished all right to any more governance than what they have, which is a modified municipal model that is protected from alteration by the existence of the Treaty. The same is true of all other First Nations in Canada that have signed Treaties to date.

There are many things people can fault the Campbell government, and once in a while they are right, but on aborginal issues there is no space for complaint. In the history of Canada, no government has been willing to go further to work with First Nations and pushed the mandate model further than the current BC Government. The BC Liberals are as good as it as ever been for a government being accommodating to First Nations interests in Canadian history.

In BC the option is the return of the NDP and we saw the damage they did to First Nations, and the terribly Nisga'a Treaty that they forced upon the Nisga'a - the worst Treaty any First Nation has accepted since the 19th century

Excellent discussion here - thanks.

Can anyone elaborate on the actual specifics in the 'members' conflict of interest' act that Mr. Christenson referred to in his non-answer answer to Mr. Holman's question.

Bernard, you're such an incredible character! It's hard to argue with someone who has their "facts" so carefully constructed. Suffice it to say you're talking educated sounding nonsense for the most part.

However, you may have a point in one respect, that the "comprehensive" approach hasn't been productive. There have been no treaties coming out of that process. However, your utterly laughable dismissal of the Nisga'a Treaty puts the lie to most of what you say. It's just another BC Liberal "best place on earth" rant without the scenic photography we get in the TV adverts.
I think you and Steve Hopkins really need to go into the shop together. At least Steve realizes that he needs to stay onside with both the Federal and BC Liberals, whereas you seem to have some really arrogant idea that you are entitled to pick and choose.

People may want to know that the law firm Plant is working for, Heenan-Blaikie, has two claims to fame.

It's Montreal office was where Pierre E. Trudeau hung his hat after he had retired from politics and returned to the private sector. It's also been very active on behalf of Phil Hochstein and his radical Independent Christian Businessmen's Association, or ICBA for short. And the ICBA is one of the component organizations in the BC Construction Assn that had to fire as their lobbyist Bernard's loyal sidekick, Mike Geoghegan, for trash-talking womena and visible minorities on an open line radio show.

So you see, folks, in Liberal Land, ... it's a Small World After All! Can anyone wait for the Gomery Report???


Bernard wrote: "…. The Federal and Provicial government have taken the position that the full gamut of powers are only available to those two levels of government."

Clearly First Nations disagree... and generally the SC disagrees... hence the upholding of "treaties"; Of import, First Nations often do win claims, even in Canadian courts, over Federal claims to jurisdiction.

There is only one crown "in" Canada but that crown has many parallel jurisdictions around the world. When dealing with treaties, one is dealing with a parallel jurisdiction… a concept well established in history, legal precedent, and the concept is still extremely active around the world… and it was a concept well understood by most of the framers of Canada’s aboriginal treaties and is also still seen in most of today’s SC decisions… but the concept is sadly absent in some right of center political thinkers when the concept of jurisdictional rights has to be applied to aboriginal minorities.

To understand the nature and approach of the federal government and the provincial government, one needs only look at the BC Indian Reserve Mineral Resources Act. Note the complete lack of any part of First Nations within this act. Explain to me how this odious act has within it any recognition of the First Nations as having any status within the land ownership framework?

Furthermore, both BC and Canada contend that there is underlying Crown allloid title to Nisga'a lands, a clear and plain view from them that they do not believe that the Nisga'a are anything more than an delgated government with some constitutional protection from interference over a narrow range of topics.

Now I personally happen to think that Canada and BC are wrong in this view and that Nisga'a lands do not have any remaining Crown alloidal title and that Nisga'a land is a sui genris constitutional land status. In fact that only Nisga'a lands are truly outside of the power of Canada and BC. I am waiting for the day when this comes to the courts.

How unique is Nisga'a land? The rulings of the Supreme Court of Canada view aboriginal title as an encumberance on Crown title and in no way superior or clear of Crown title and the SCC clearly states that the Crown has the power to take aborginal title lands. Only Nisga'a land is free of this in my opinion (my opinion being informed by discussion with Doug Saunders and the Nisga'a, who believe that something unique has been achieved)

If First Nations had any power over their lands that they acquired through Treaties, why then has there been a need for the First Nations Land Management Act? Why are First Nations accepting land management over the reserves in a manner akin to local goverment zoning? The simple answer is because they do not own one single inch of reserve land in Canada and have to get permission from the Federal government for the simplest and most basic transaction or disposition of an interest in the land. As one of the Chiefs that I worked for put it, "The Feds control it all, all we have is the right to hover over the land"

As to the comphrehensive claims process of the federal government - the reason the Union of BC Indian Chiefs are not at the BC Treaty Table is because the federal government will not take extinguishment of aboriginal title and rights off of the table. And this claims policy from the 1980s flows directly from the 1969 white paper. It is the Federal government that insists in extinguishment of aboriginal title and rights and refuses to back away from that - the best one gets is the smoke and mirrors approach of Nisga'a. The path was clearly set for how to settle Treaties without extinguishment in 1995 by Justice Hamilton's Factfinder on certainty - but the Federal Liberals buried his report so deeply that most people no longer remember that he did the work, let alone the important way forward he showed.

Finally, there is a split jurisdiction of the Crown in Canada. There is Crown in the right of the province and the Crown in the right of the federal government. Constitutionally the province is not a creature of the federal government and therefore there are two different levels of the Crown within Canada. The areas of sovereignty held by the province are protected from incursion by the federal government through the Constitution, and of course vice versa.

And yes, I can debate this to the ends of time in much detail, but then this is what I do for a living.

Bernard

ps I personally believe that the First Nations are doing great work for the creation of constitutional protection of property rights for all Canadians. It would not surprise me if cases like Haida and Delgamuukw are the beginning points for the general public's protection from the Crown's interference in their property rights.

Bernard, I think you have been taking lessons in legal analysis from Mike Geoghegan. It's quite apparent that you haven't the foggiest.

"If First Nations had any power over their lands that they acquired through Treaties, why then has there been a need for the First Nations Land Management Act? "

Because... Canada has laws that define within herself how to relate to the treaties with other jurisdictions. For example, just because we have NAFTA does not mean Canada does not also have trade laws within Canada directed at such things boarder laws for Canadians... Likewise, things like the Indians Act, Land management Acts, etc are all Acts for Canada and Canadians... they are not acts for aboriginals per say. They are acts governing the behaviour of Canada.

Bernard, you need to get your head around the concept that Canada is dealing with another jurisdiction when dealing with treaties.

" However, your utterly laughable dismissal of the Nisga'a Treaty puts the lie to most of what you say."

The reason that the Nisga treaty came off the way that it did was because the Delgamukkwe ruling had very little to do with the issues negotiated by Nisga AND the Crown.

Oh, and in case you didn't know this about Nisga, the community was told that the taxation provisions wouldn't ever actually come into effect. This was actually a clever obsfuscation on the part of Lou Gosnell and the Nisga Negotiatiors in order to trick their community into ratifying this shitty deal.

I don't know ANY aboriginal person, (aside from a few blowhards working either for the Government or for the BC Treaty Negotiations process) that considers Nisga to be a "good" outcome for the Nisga.

But then again, I actually talk to actual Aboriginal People who used to work in the BC Treaty Process, and eventually left when they realized what a sham and a fraud it was. Nisga is part of what convinced many of them that negotiation at this stage of the game for Aboriginals is absolutley the WORST thing that could happen, and if anything, Aboriginal Peoples would do better by litigation instead of negotiation.

Nisga Negotiations had been going on for many years, and the AIP had been reached PRIOR to the late 1997 Delgamukkwe ruling.

Delgamukkwe shifted the balance of power more in the direction of Aboriginal Peoples than at any time in Canadian history. Sadly for the Nisga, this happened to late for them... and then, because of sell-outs like Gosnell, who had invested so much in getting the deal done, the Nisga were not adequately informed about how things had changed, and why they might want to completely reconsider their stance, in light of the recognition of the existence of Aboriginal Title.

I know for a fact that there will NEVER be a Land Claims Agreement qua Treaty deal concluded in British Columbia. The only reason any Nations are still involved in this process at this point is because a lot of gravy is being spread around, which is employing a number of people in the Treaty Industry. To shut down this process, (as should occur) would put hundreds of Aboriginals working in the process out of work.

Most of the Nations that continue in the process are only doing so, because they are able to get large sums of money that enable them to better prepare for the time AFTER negotiations have broken down, and it's time to go to court.

That's the reality, if you talk to actual Aboriginal peoples, and not just the bought-and-paid for BCTC pimps.

"Oh, and in case you didn't know this about Nisga, the community was told that the taxation provisions wouldn't ever actually come into effect. This was actually a clever obsfuscation on the part of Lou Gosnell and the Nisga Negotiatiors in order to trick their community into ratifying this shitty deal."

I have no idea what you're talking about. The Nisga'a Treaty provides that special on reserve exemptions from income and sales taxes will end. Now, I don't have the document here, I am not sure when that comes into effect. However, I do think your suggestion that Nisga'a voters were told it was really non-applicable sounds like a Bernard von Schulmann-Mike Geoghegan-Liberal Party mumbo jumbo non-explanation of nothing. IOWs, something somebody made up in order to pursue ever further the lost art of conversation. IOWs, a fabrication.

Nice post meaghan

Aboriginal Title is real... We can throw a thousand words at it... but simply put: its both property and jurisdiction that belongs to aboriginals.

It’s amazing how many people simply don’t like the concept of “themz there other people owns some of themz there land”… it makes ya think there is nothing more than racism in this property/jurisdiction dispute.

I know that's what the treaty says Bud. You know that's what the Treaty Says Bud... but Lou Gosnell and the Nisga Negotiatiors told the Nisga people that even though this was on paper, it would be a matter for future negotiation, where they would remove it.

It was a dirty and evil trick, and Lou Gosnell has my everlasting scorn and disgust for having done it.

He even came to a Treaty Group meeting in Cowichan a few years ago, and tried to sell this same idea -- that the taxations were not actually going to happen, to our people. Our elders laughed at him.

He had been paid by the Federal Government to come in and "sell" our community on continuing with Treaty.

Long term result... last month there was an Anual General Meeting of the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group, representing several nations, and negotiating on behalf of 6000 people. Guess how many of the 6000 showed up to this meeting? Which would tend to show the level of respect for the process, or people who have any confidence in it?

6 people.
Out of 6000
And 2 of them only came to demand that the negotiations and the on-going creation of massive debt cease.

I think non-native people would be surprised about what's really going on in these "treaty negotiations".

It's not what the BCTC and Indian Act leaders who are enriching themselves and their families on the BCTC gravy train.

One wonders where all the experts on this article get their stuff. To say the first nations in that territory were never told about taxation would indicate, they can't read. and they can read.

I was a homeowner on land set aside for many years and spoke repeatedly as a member of the government third party advisory committee at many events including the Standing Committee dealing with the public perception on the Nisga'a Treaty. One question I was asked by a MLA was. Are you comfortable with the idea of paying taxes to a first nation government. It just wasn't Gosnell in the room. The fed had brought in self taxation years ago, so what was new?

Those presentations are in Hansard. Nobody was pulling the wool over anyone.

Government position papers were widely available at every public meeting I ever attended and discussed at numerous treaty main tables. Mind you when the provicial Liberals took over , the policy papers sort of disappeared from view. The regional advisoy committees were disbanded at the same time

So some folks should either read up on things or not try to confuse the issues. Yes the Nisga'a Treaty work started prior to the province getting into the process,Vandezam started the province connection so the province was there well before the signing. Their position had alwasy been You will pay taxes just as every other Canadian does. wHow esle will the roads and sewers and schools be paid for?

The Indian Act exemption was going down the road so taxation would become a provincial issue. There was a period of time to start the collection of taxes. Usually seven years was the norm. It takes a while for a new group to get making enough to actually pay taxes.

Yes Plante was in on the referendum which sure didn't speed things up but look beyond him to his boss who was very much against the Nisga'a treaty and as many of us believe the treaty process itself.

I attended well over 70 main table treaty negotiations as an observer. Never got paid a dime for all teh time and travel. I'd od it again today.

I never saw one Liberal at any of them. and those meeting were open because Mike Harcourt had insisted on it.

Modern treaties are the way to go, so let's get there.

And by the Way Bud,

It was a few weeks ago that you made the false accusation that Mike Geoghgan was on the government payroll and sucking at the government tit, in his current work.

I was the one who asked if you had anything like.. um.. proof for that accusation.

You declined to answer.
Instead you or your sock-puppets went off on a scream accusing me of not being a real person,
instead of dealing with my real question about
the veracity of your accusation towards Mike.

And...I note that you are still hear smearing Mike Geoghgan.

How bout, before we deal with your newest insults at Mike Geoghgan, you address your former false accusation. Either provide proof of your accusation, admit that it was wrong to make such an accusation and apologize.

How bout it Bud?
How's that for wanting to see a little "truth" instead of "spin"?


"One wonders where all the experts on this article get their stuff. To say the first nations in that territory were never told about taxation would indicate, they can't read. and they can read."

I heard it directly from Lou Gosnell HIMSELF. I asked him about this... why it was that he allowed his people to have their tax-exemptions cease. It was back in 2002, in October, at the Silver Bridge Inn, at a meeting of the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group, in front of at least 100 witnesses, and members of the press.

Gosnell was at that time STILL out there peddling the lie that the taxation exemptions were not going to end for his people... that they still had a "trick" up their sleeve to pull that part out.

Like I said, my elders, and the people in our community laughed at him. There have been some challenges made to the Nisga Treaty by Nisga people who feel that they were not properly advised or consulted on this matter... and it is on the basis that they were told these things.

I know one of the lawyers that is helping them with their challenge. If they are succesful there is a good chance that Nisga will come undone.

But then, my experience with the BCTC is more than just what I have read at the BCTC or Federal Government or BC Government websites. I have worked with people in 15 different Nations who are desperately trying to get their Indian Act leaders to end the negotiations and the MASSIVE debts that are being racked up each year that this goes on.

If you people only knew what it was that you were supporting.... It's shocking. Absolutley shocking.

"I attended well over 70 main table treaty negotiations as an observer."

Which tables?

Where and when?

Here's an interesting fact to digest. The Lake Cowichan Indian Band has less than 40 members. Their contribution to the debts that have been incurred on their behalf in their involvement in the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group is well over 3.5 Million dollars. The Crown has already told us what the cap is going to be on final settlement. It will not be more than $65,000 a person, and that will have deductions on the basis of the cost of negotiations.

Do the math...They have already maxed out their compensation. They are now negotiating for the privellage of going INTO Debt! This means that even if everything wrapped up tommorow, and the government was ready to cut them a cheque for the extinguishment of aboriginal title and rights, they are actually going to be OWING the government about more than $10,000 a person!

It is insanity!
And this is not the only Nation where this is happening. The problem is, if the Nations cease negotiation at this point, the debts they have wracked up becoming immediately payable.... And that would send 80% of the Nations involved into 3rd Party Management, because once an Indian Band crosses a certain percentage of debt in their budgets, the formula dictates that they must have their finances taken over by the DIA's appointed 3rd Party Management teams.

Thats the real reason that most of these bands continue to "negotiate". It's got nothing to do with Treaty anymore. It's all about keeping the money coming in, providing jobs for family members, and not putting the Band's finances into such disarray that they lose the ability to manage their own finances.


MWW

That high horse your're riding is heading for some low branches.

That was me you challenged..not Budd..to prove my allegation that Mike G. was sucking on the public tit while going out of his way to run interference for Campbell. You disappeared right after I stated that it was not too much of a stretch to conclude that lobbyists working on behalf of those seeking government cash were obviously getting their 'turn at the tit' when their clients pay them. Having Mike G. show up on this site attacking the BCTF and NDP just underlines my point about his lack of integrity.
If he had any smarts he would just shut up and lay low.

btw: I've had horses throw me many times and deliberately take me into low branches. They would only do that when I was under the influence of my own stupidity or hubris..nothing to do with how I was treating the horse because without fail I am kind to animals.
The moral of this is...when you are crusading for what you perceive to be worthwhile, make sure you don't let your ego get in the way of common sense.

"And by the Way Bud,

It was a few weeks ago that you made the false accusation that Mike Geoghgan was on the government payroll and sucking at the government tit, in his current work."

Or so says someone calling themselves MWW.

I don't recall saying that Geoghegan had a BC or even a Federal Liberal Govt contract. In fact, I would be surprised if he did, since even though he publicly sucks up to these people like mad they are smart enough to know that Geoghegan is a truly pathetic imbecile. He probably has gotten one or two relatively minor contracts over the past four or five years, but for the most part MG's best days are behind him.

At the end of the day, Mike Geoghegan is just an umeployable ex-NDPer whom Mike Harcourt allowed to be placed on the Govt payroll at significant expense in order to keep Okanagan Boundary MLA Bill Barlee happy. Real crazy stuff, just like all the other Pollard-generated patronage appointments that demolished Harcourt's career and credibility.

"You disappeared right after I stated that it was not too much of a stretch to conclude that lobbyists working on behalf of those seeking government cash were obviously getting their 'turn at the tit' when their clients pay them. Having Mike G. show up on this site attacking the BCTF and NDP just underlines my point about his lack of integrity. If he had any smarts he would just shut up and lay low."

Ok, so your accusation was then toned down to a "speculation". But you still have no proof. MG is not currently working for the BC Government, and as far as I know, he hasn't been for quite some time. And yet, despite having no proof, you balk at being asked to qualify your statements, and instead veer off onto some non-sequitor about how because he is critical of the NDP, this shows a lack of integrity?

That doesn't make sense. Does having worked for the NDP in the past mean that one can never offer a critque on the current actions of the NDP? FWIW, I think Mike is right. That the NDP does at times alienate people with some of it's antics, when it isn't nessecarry to do so. A little more finesse could turn a situation like the Teachers Strike or the Ferry Strike around so that the unions come off looking like they have legitimate grievances and are being hard done by, by the Government.

Instead, the angry-speak that is often employed by spokespeople for the unions gives the impression that they are mere cranks.

Here's an example of something that both Mike I and spoke about. Back in 2002, I think it was, there was a strike of hospital employees. Remember? The editor of the paper that I wrote for, wrote an article that was mildly critical of the Union pushing a strike. One of the nurses in the unions responded by writing a letter that basically said "You better watch out, if you get sick Brian Wilford. Thanks to your picture being in the paper, we know what you look like"

Tell me... how does something like THAT convince people to be sympathetic towards the Unions? Or, then there was the case of the Union people in Duncan organizing a boycott of the little grocery store owned by Graham Bruce's brother. Graham Bruce's brother has never been involved in politics and there was a backlash in the community. Bruce's brother wrote a heartfelt "I'm sorry about the labour dispute. You win! I surrender" letter.... because the boycott was slowly driving him out of business if it continued. This is a SMALL business that employed about 10 people. The Union did not make any friends in this situation, when it became clear that their attempt to lash out at Bruce by going after his family member's business, had the potential to put 10 people with families completely out of work if his business went tits up.

I am not a supporter of the NDP, but believe me, after Gordo's Refferendum, I had a lot more sympathy for the NDP than ever before. But this sympathy was squandered by those actions. And that's what I see happens alot with NDP actions. They take really good issues, and events, and destroy the good publicty they could be milking by employing foot-bullet PR Stunts.

It's actually eerily reminiscent of the stunt-politics nonsense that the Conservative party has engaged in, in it's many incarnations.

Mike was offering an opinion, based upon his expertise to the BCTF. He was offering constructive criticism of their efforts. He was trying to help. That this is met with an angry and false accusation, doesn't make your case that he is a person with no integrity. But it does make my case, that Geoghgan wasn't doing anything different than he has been doing for the past 10 years.

It's a shame that the NDP hardliners do not take this kind of advice and consider it, and maybe think about improving their public relations efforts. But like the CPC, the NDP at times seems more interested in being "right" in arguments, or disputes, than in actually achieving the results that they want.

As for my disapearing... Public Eye is a good site, and I visit it somewhat frequently. But the assumption that somebody has "run away" or "disapeared" because they don't respond to you is a silly one, on the internet. I don't visit the Public Eye every day. I often times only end up here because friends email a link saying Holman is reporting something on Aboriginal issues. So, my apologies for "disapearing" from the thread. I was out in the real world, doing real world things.. which didn't involve hitting 'refresh' every 10 minutes on a blog to see what other squabble had broken out.


Angry politics... I hear you Meaghan. Both the left (the far left within the NDP) and the right (the far right within the CPC) sometimes play eerily alike "angry" politics. It helps no one.

The tactic is simple but tragically flawed: make noise by being angry... try to make the other guy look bad... and hope that through some illogical leap the voters will assume that because they are looking at the noise maker, who says the other guys are bad, then somehow the noise must mean the noise makers are good, or at least better. NOT!

The real test of political worth is found in the solutions offered and not just the mud slung.

For example, I sling mud at the CPC for being bigoted and ignorant towards: aboriginal issues, the environment, and basic community management issues (plus basic economics – yes basics economics too)… but in each case I stand my ground by also offering specific alternatives (things you could see on the street or on your tax form). There is plenty of deserved mud to sling… and so there is a place for it… but there must be solutions too and we are seeing precious too few from our left and right parties.

But we must face the facts about the current nature of left and right politics in Canada. At this point in time, neither the far right nor the far left offer much of substance other than ideology… their policy statements are long on platitudes and short on specifics. And, the guys in the middle are accordingly really not that motivated to be anything other than “do not sound radical” so that when voters are scared by “angry” politics they at least have somewhere to go.

Canada is suffering badly because so many in politics have mistaken anger for content. For a time, I too bought the approach… but I stopped rationalizing away the anger, ignorance, and bigotry (from both the far left and far right) and actually started hoping for solutions, and guess what, the light came on! There are solutions and anger isn’t one of them.

MWW

There was no speculation in my assertion that Geoghegan is "sucking on the public tit". He is a registered lobbyist..no? I never said he was working for the government....just dependant on government funds.

To be clear..I believe the public is not well served by the slimy practice of having industries OR organizations with deep pockets sending lobbyists to wine and dine our public officials.

Given Geoghegan's profile as a lobbyist and consultant he would have showed far more integrity and wisdom by writing his heavily biased remarks about the BCTF and NDP by posting here with an alias. Instead, like you, he is driven by his ego. It doesn't take a genius to conclude that he is also sucking up to Gordo to ensure his BC Liberal mealticket. You statement that he "was trying to help" is laughable. How does calling the BCTF a "lapdog" of the NDP help anything but score Mike brownie points with Gordo?

I do, however, wish you well with your efforts to secure the best settlements possible for native bands... I just think that using people like Geoghegan to do that might backfire due to his aforementioned character deficiencies and lack of wisdom.

As for your backhanded swipe at those of us who post here frequently, you have not considered that those of us who have desk jobs, high speed ISP's and super fast processors and no bossman hovering are easily able to crank off vitriolic and satirical comments along with thoughtful, reasoned insights while we attend to our own mealtickets. I have the best wireless laptop money can buy so I also can cycle down to hippie land and skewer right wingers "under the Volcano".

tain events. But back to Plante, who now has a job advising the Campbell government. I believe thats where this all started.

tain events. But back to Plante, who now has a job advising the Campbell government. I believe thats where this all started.

So now one of the writers here is questioning that I attended a large number of main table treaty negotiations as a observer. She/he wanted to know what dates and where.
The records of all such meetings exist as does the names of who attended. Go look it up.
as are the records of Regional advisory meetings.

Another home owner and myself both lived on land set aside. One or two of us attended every maintable, public meeting in our area of resonsibility. And a number outside our area of resonsibility. We both were members of the Regional Advisory Committee set up for third party interest groups. We were honoured by at one first nation as witnesses of some secret events as well. Senior negotiators from many first nations knew us fairly well as did the federal and provincial negotiators. First nation members knew us as folks who support modern treaties as well. some of our statements ended up in the BC Civil Liberties paper on non first nation people living on land set aside. Taxation was included in that paper as was voting rights.

we attended many conferences and both of us at different times were invited by the Indian Taxation Advisory Board to attend annual taxation conferences, and to speak at those conferences. Other conferences had us in the same room as respected elders, negotiators,Ministers, Deputy Ministers; and other senior staff, and a couple of times , the senior people in the Nisga'a. Taxation was a subject on many occassions.At least one band who signed the fth stage suddenly decided Oops taxation. That particular first nation main tables had the largest number of members in attendance. Taxation was not something they didn't understand. at no time did we ever hear Joe Gosnell or Nelson Neisson or anyone else say they would not accept the idea of self taxation.

But since these conversations are all over the map and Plant now does have an attachment to the process as a legal advisor I figure it's time to shift subjects. Sorry MWW, if you cant accept what I have now told you twice, I guess it's just too bad.

"Taxation was not something they didn't understand. at no time did we ever hear Joe Gosnell or Nelson Neisson or anyone else say they would not accept the idea of self taxation."

If MWW is a Geoghegan promoter and a Von Schulmann promoter and a Liberal promoter, ... is it surprising that some of his conversational factoids don't square with reality? The Liberal Party hasn't been in power since the last Ice Age because they don't know anything about manipulation and deception.

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