Last week, The Vancouver Sun's Vaughn Palmer reported provincial New Democrat leader Carole James "is still sorting out her party's position on the new generation of native treaties, three months after the first of them was made public." This, despite the fact New Democrat agriculture and lands critic Corky Evans has already expressed concern about the deal struck with the Tsawwassen First Nation - which will see up to 200 hectares removed from the agriculture land reserve. So you'd think that treaty would have been a topic of discussion at the recent Opposition caucus retreat in Courtenay. But you'd be wrong.
The reason: the retreat (which took place this past Wednesday and Thursday) was meant to be less about debating policy and more about giving "area citizens and stakeholders" a chance to meet New Democrat legislators. Moreover, a number of key caucus members - such as Adrian Dix, Mike Farnworth, Harry Lali and Diane Thorne - weren't able to attend. And there may been a reluctance to discuss the Tsawwassen First Nation treaty without some of those legislators in the room.