The NDP's home and native land reserve?

Former provincial New Democrat advanced education, training and technology minister Tom Perry says his party's decision to support the Tsawwassen Treaty isn't "courageous." Speaking with Public Eye, Dr. Perry explained, "I think that, politically, it's very dangerous for the NDP to turn it's back on a heritage of really important ideas which have won it the respect of the public. There are very few political ideas that define the NDP in British Columbia. If one asks oneself what they are, one is the agricultural land reserve" - an idea which is undermined by the treaty.

"It adds one more very serious blow to a concept which was revolutionary, bold and one of the defining characteristics of the first NDP government which won the respect of the British Columbians for decades in 1973. And if this treaty proceeds, I don't see how it can't help but seriously weaken the agricultural land reserve," Dr. Perry added referring to the fact the treaty will transfer 207 hectares of land from that protective zone to the Tsawwassen First Nation.

The former Vancouver-Little Mountain legislator also said he thinks his party should oppose the deal because "this is part of Premier (Gordon) Campbell's strategy to co-opt the NDP into supporting Gateway" - a provincial transportation infrastructure program meant to support increase trade with Asia. That program would get a boost if the Tsawwassen First Nation, as expected, use some of their new land to build a container storage facility for Deltaport.

"Although, I don't have any trouble that the expanded container traffic will increase the gross domestic product and provide more tax revenues and more jobs, it must - by definition - do so at the expense of the global environment. So one cannot logically be in favour of controlling global warming and be simultaneously be in favour of massively expanding transoceanic trade in commodities. So it's the old 1987 to 1990 sustainable development gone wild. It's the development that's sustainable - not the environment. And I think it's disappointing the Official Opposition doesn't provide a focus for those people in British Columbia and Canada who do understand" that.

Back in April, Dr. Perry told a Simon Fraser University forum on urban land claims the New Democrat's fence-sitting on the Tsawassen Treaty was making him "question my ongoing membership in the NDP" - suggesting he could quit the party if it didn't take a strong stand for agricultural land. This, according to a report by The Leader's Jeff Nagle. Asked if the New Democrat's decision to endorse the treaty means he'll be tearing up his membership card, said, "I would expect at the least - or hope - that some of the MLAs who do not agree with the decision will vote their conscience. I think if they don't that would certainly seal my fate."


Dr. Perry isn't the only party member who is not enamoured by Ms. James decision to support the Tawassen treaty. The policies were clear. If ALR Land was to be part of the deal, they would be under the rules of the ALR. any other land picked up would be subject to provicnal laws. and any law a band wrote was to be equal or greater than provicnal and federla legislation. all that went out the window and the cheering section run by Carole James never raised a question.should be a short fall session. The critic and the Leader will give a big talk asking, as she did today in her news release, that the Liberals will ensure the ALR rules would apply on other treaties. Then they all break to spend part of their wage increases

I certainly appreciate Perry's commitment to the ALR and agree about it's value to BC and to the image of the NDP.

But sometimes other fundamental needs require at least equal attention and, yes, even priority.

The long overdue results of one of the first modern treaties with a BC first nation, which includes about 300 hectares of land is perhaps, in the eyes of some of the beholders, about time.

I'm torn frankly. Both, in my view are primary issues that must be championed and supported.

I most certainly agree with Perry on the dangers of Gateway and the sticky stuff NDPers may find on their shoes if they endorse that car salesman's pension plan.

That doesn't for me. I have been a 25 year member of the NDP and I decided sometime ago that this was a make or break issue for me. Guy and Corky have the right position on this and it sickens me that Carole James is forcing her anti-ALR views down the throat of caucus. She has done more harm to the NDP in 2 years, than has ever happened before. The question is who do I vote for? Hell will freeze over before I vote Liberal and won't vote Green. I probably just won't vote. Nice legacy Carole.

who is carole james?
are the new democrats [new]?
there is a huge oppurtunity for socialist to gain power but they can,t shed the skin and read weather,,,,,,,, it,s simple, change ,adapt, find some people that see the whole picture,i,m surprised, it,s still same old ,etc,,,,,,,

I too am opposed to the provision to remove ALR lands from the Reserve prior to transferring their ownership to the Tsawwassen Band. Had the previous NDP Govt concluded a treaty with the Band, the proposal was to transfer those same lands as part of the package, but to keep them in the ALR. If the Band wanted to take them out for port or other developments, it would have to apply to do so in the normal fashion.

The NDP is in a position of having to choose between two absolutes, concluding treaties and saving farmland and protecting the environment. It's a rough choice and the fact that an MLA must vote up or down on the entire package means that a judgement call must be made.

Had it been my call, I would have gone the other way. But I find it difficult to take the position Tom Perry has that there is no argument to be made on behalf of concluding treaties, even though I strongly disagree with Chief Baird's vision for these properties.

Perry's opposition to Gateway is ridiculous. Auto traffic puts out less than 20% of Canada's greenhouse gases. It's absurd to pretend that the GVRD can continue to grow in population without some increase in road and freeway transportation. That needs to be balanced off against meaningful transit developments, heavy rail such as the WestCoast Express with more trains at more times of the day, and faster trips on improved track. The GVRD committment to low speed Light Rail systems is a serious and quite intentional error, designed to make sure that surburban residents cannot make a trip from one end of metro to the other in a reasonable amount of time. That unwillingness to provide truly rapid tranist is part and parcel of a set of policies designed to protect high property prices in Vancouver, especially in Point Grey where Dr Tom Perry lives.

Were the natives consulted back in the 1970's when the ALR was being set up - I doubt it - Yes Carole is showing some real leadership by supporting the results after the results were announced. Would the ALR withstand a Charter challenge by First Nations?

having read Rafe Mair's piece in the Tyee on the Tswassen treaty and the interesting comments about the environmental impact with the Robert point expansion and then Bertha Wilson's letter posted on Bill Tieleman, I don't support the Tswassen treaty. And then the ALR land being removed? that is the final kicker.

I certainly admire and respect Carole James on a personal level but I'm really questioning her leadership of the NDP in the past two years. And the funny thing is I think she has what it takes to lead the province and would be a great premier.

The NDP needs to have positions on complex difficult matters and yes the MSM gives them terribly biased negative coverage but they are ways to fight back. Like an current, relevant interesting NDP website. The US has MediaMatters to expose the lies and distortions towards Democrats in the US. BC needs the same AND an NDP party that takes a stand on issues, not waiting for the next election and avoiding mistakes. That means becoming invisible. And it lacks authenticity.

For the love of BC, get out there and engage people.

Actually they are invisible except for Adrian Dix. And hell will freeze over before I vote for him.

The Crown has a responsibility to settle Treaties with First Nations. Are those opposed to a Treaty with the Tsawwassen First Nation suggesting the Crown not settle with them?

Before any land was pre-empted in Delta, the Crown was supposed to settle a Treaty with Tsawwassen - the First Nation has been damned patient. Now that the Crown is finally willing to settle and the First Nation is willing to settle for the return of a tiny parcel there are people out there suggesting the First Nation not be allowed to manage their own affairs.

White paternalism has been a horror the First Nations have had to endure for generations. It is time to get out of their affairs and let them govern themselves.

Are people suggesting that the First Nation have no new lands? Tsawwassen has a right to self governance that is recognized within the Treaty. Part of that self governance is power over their own lands. The ALR does not apply to Yukon, Alberta or Washington, it has also never applied to Indian Reserves. Why apply it to Tsawwassen?

So that everyone understands, a First Nation government is not a local government, it is a constitutional protected level of government. The Crown may only interfere as far as the Treaty allows.

To get a Treaty settlement at all the parties have to agree. Think of everything that Tsawwassen has given up to get a settlement. If they had settled on the basis of the historical numbered Treaties, they would have been entitled to about 60 000 acres of land now, and even back 120 years ago they would have had a reserve of about 13 000 acres. In comparison they settled for a tiny amount of land. They have done 99% of the compromising to get a settlement.

What has effectively happened is that Tsawwassen has settled for 5 cents on the dollar and now people are saying that someone else should be allowed to tell them what to do with the last 5 cents. I find that fundamentally unfair and insulting.

If the people of the lower mainland are interested in more agricultural land, they could use the GVRD to raise the funds and buy up parts of Ladner and Richmond and remove the houses. With a levy of $50 per person per year, the GVRD could afford to purchase 10 hectares of residential fee simple land per year to convert back to agricultural lands. Along with this would come about 8 hectares of roads and other related public lands. In 20 years the GVRD could replace all the lands that Tsawwassen is regaining.

The local governments could go further and require that all surplus school properties on agricultural lands should be returned to farm status.

Members of the public could chose to donate their homes to be returned to farm land when they die.

If ALR is important to the public in the lower mainland, they should pay for it, not the First Nations. But the reality is that most of the public want the ALR for free. Furthermore the public really wants the lower mainland ALR as defacto green space or parks - note the opposition to green houses, propane cannons and the smell of manure, the public complains about modern economically viable farming.


Last time I checked there were only two ORDERS of government in Canada.

"Part of that self governance is power over their own lands. The ALR does not apply to Yukon, Alberta or Washington, it has also never applied to Indian Reserves. Why apply it to Tsawwassen?

This is truly incredible.

Everyone knows that lands transfered to Bands as part of Treaty settlements become private property owned by the band and operated under all the laws of British Columbia. They do not become federal Indian Reserve lands.

That's why Chief Baird and Premier Campbell are so adamant that the lands have to be excluded from the ALR prior to transfer. For if they were not, then the Band as the new owner of these lands who have had to go through the same exclusion process as any other private land owner.

If find it very hard to believe that an expert on Native issues such as Bernard doesn't fully understand this. And what on earth is the bit about the Yukon, Washington and Oregon supposed to prove?

I cannot let Bernard Schulmann's misleading and misguided comments on the Tsawwassen Treaty go unanswered.

The Tsawwassen First Nation isn't looking for traditional territorial land to hunt, fish and live on Bernard, they want to take valuable, prime farmland and turn it over to the Deltaport expansion for loads of money and probably a few jobs.

That's what this is all about. BC could have offered money and jobs and even other land but Premier Gordon Campbell wanted a quick and easy way to get that ALR land removed to expand the port and park more containers from China on it.

The original deal would have seen the TFN have the same rights as anyone else with the land they would have gained that was in the ALR - they could apply to remove it and make their best case. I would not object to that, though I would have fought to keep it farmland.

Instead, Campbell used the TFN to get Deltaport expansion through the back door and avoid the ALR designation.

Historic injustices must be settled but not through creating more injustices. BC needs farmland and alienating this parcel for industrial development is shameful.

Bernard said: So that everyone understands, a First Nation government is not a local government, it is a constitutional protected level of government. The Crown may only interfere as far as the Treaty allows.

Not too exact a statement . The land was taken long before the BC treaty process was in place. Until that time treaty talks were federal and Indian. Bill Tieleman right above my post is right on the money but I will enlarge somewhat as some folks seem to be way off base on the issues.

There is no treaty at Tsawassen. There is no third level of government in Canada. The band members were required to vote simply because they are not a government. A specific list of voters was required prior to the vote. If they had been a government the government members would have done the voting.
The Supreme Court of Canada said : Aboriginal tile exists but did not define where it was or what authourity they had. They said legislate or negotiate, with negotiations being the route of choice to decide which bundle of rights would remain when a treaty was estabished. Those rights would be easy to see and understand. As more policies were shifted, by the present premier, they got enough votes to go to the next step which is acceptance or not acceptence by the two governments that exist in this country, Federal and Provicial. Municpial governments are referred to as "The child of the Provincial governments". In most situations the band will be very similar to a municipality. They know that and anyone who has done much reading on the subject knows that.

That's what the big fuss is about. Till now, the deal was ALR if transferred whould still be subject to the Provincial ALR just as Bill said, and any law a band wrote would have to equal or better than the present government laws. There in lies the rub. This present government has decided to transfer the land right out of ALR which is provincial legislation to the band just as Bill said. That was not the intent for many years. A long reading of the Final agreement will show, just as in Nisga'a there are very few areas when the band laws would trump the provincial laws, and even then if there is disagreement it can be settled in court. Now the band can sue and be sued for their actions. No thinking person can be against the principal of modern treaties,as the status quo doesn't work and leaves folks out of a mainstream life in the country. I must remind us that the present premier in opposition,was going to court, argued long and loud against the Nisga'a treaty and wasted folks money on a referendum. One day he had a vision , My Gosh business wants land they could never get any other way and Gordon became a treaty zealot. So the rules changed and a treaty is in sight. Sorry Bernard but you are wrong.

brilliant analysis and summary, Bill.

Where to start?

A post Treaty first nation may look a lot like a municipal government, but it is fundamentally different legally and constitutionally protected.

The foundation of Canada begins with the Royal Proclamation of 1763 - it is in there that the Crown recognizes aboriginal people existing as governing societies. The federal and provincial crowns do not have 100% of the governing authority in Canada due to section 25 and 35 of the 1982 constitution. The Tsawwassen treaty constitutionally protects their government and they are therefore a third order of government. The Treaty places the limits on the Tsawwassen government authority, but note they can create laws without getting them approved by anyone else.

I bring this up again because it is very relevant. Tsawwassen is not creature of the provincial or federal governments but one with real rights to create laws - not by-laws. This is very important with respect to lands. Given the scope of the legal standing of the Tsawwassen post treaty government, BC will not be able to impose its laws in relation to lands on Tsawwassen lands unless the Treaty allows.

What Tsawassen wants to do with their land is their business. We are no longer in the 19th century so of course they are going to use the lands for other uses than they would have 150 years ago. I have no position one way or another on their desired use of their lands, I support the rights they will have to govern themselves and their lands.

The status of the lands in Tsawwassen (and they are roughly similar to Nisga'a lands) is a sui generis land holding in Canada. They are called fee simple, but then the Treaty specifically says that none of the normal limits on fee simple lands apply to these lands. Tsawwassen is not a private property owner in any sense of the word. They are a government that has Crown like legal powers over their lands.

Their lands are clearly not lands reserved for Indians, but nowhere does it say that there is underlying provincial allodial title to the land. As an example, the Land Act and the Expropriation Act do not apply to Tsawwassen Lands. The province has included within the Treaty the full possible extent of powers they might have over Tsawwassen lands, and it is a lot less than most people think.

In any case, I am not certain how one would enforce the ALR on Tsawwassen lands as expected in any case. The way the Agricultural Land Commission Act is written would seem to allow Tsawwassen to create very small parcels of land and still allow a house on each one. Tsawwassen has no need of going through a subdivision process to create new legal interests in their land and therefore fall outside of the ALC act provisions. I am 100% certain there will be court cases about jurisdictional issues in relation to the ALC act in the future.

I once again return to the issue of, if agricultural land is important in the lower mainland to the public, the public should convert lands that are currently covered by houses and not place the burden on the First Nations.

Bernard, I understand your conclusion as I understand the offerings by Tielmann and others. The problem here is focus and for that I give the Liberal strategists full credit.

The dilemna is created by the burying of the release of ALR lands within a lands claim process. Aboriginals and their issues MUST be addressed and the issue of farm land MUST also be addressed. The Liberals pretend to see the first (but this new relationship is suspect given past history). They refuse to see the second as their vision is limited by their short term corporate mentality. Attaching the second to the first of course leads to debate within the thinking part of the popualtion; a debate that s not resolvable based upon any principled overview.

It is the Liberals who shuld be asked the question about the alienation of the ALR property, not just the NDP. They should be held to the fire until they admit they wanted the encumerance on development of the land gone for the benefit of their corporate friends. The Liberals should also be forced to admit their sudden conversion on Native issues is not a recognition of social obligation or social justice - it is because LEGAL obligations encumber their corporate allies.

It is indeed sad that the NDP cannot be more analytical and call a spade a spade, thereby inviting ridicule. It is also sad that our free press cannot spend a bit of time analysing public policy with the government as the focus. The same nonsense occurred on the issue of the remuneration of elected officials.

Bernard again you are confusing things. Tsawassen is not a third level of government. When the treaty recieves Royal Assent, then and only then do they have some authority, outside the origional reserve. Sure some of us know what the Royal Commission had said. And the BNA Act and the Constitution has some sections as well. But the way things were set up the federal government had the duty to look after Indians. And they do with very large amounts of money and other services. If one simply reads the final agreement of this not yet legal document, one would see just how many areas that Tsawassen will have the authority to make laws that exceed provincial and federal laws. The list is short. All other laws must meet or beat provincial and federal laws. If you can't figure that out one hopes you don't end up a elected member of the Tsawassen local council, when and if the treaty becomes law. Most of the Indian Act goes away for sure, but some parts stay, and basically it's a good thing. Mixing up words about traditional territories and the like just confuses people. Yesterday there was a court decision surounding "Overlaps" The story goes that two bands had decided to split up an area for later treaty work. One band decided they wanted it all. The courts said they should go away and work it out. Treaties are long and involved but the end results should be long lasting.
If your interpretation was valid, there would be no need for treaties. Get used to it, the Constitution at the very least would have to change to make a small band of under 300 folks a level of government listed under the Canadian Constitution.If the Tsawassen were a government at this time, they wouldn't have had to convince the present premier to remover the ALR catagory to the land , the band will be renting out for a container parking lot.And we always hear about bands needing extra land to house their members. The previous government would not allow the removal of the land from the land reserve, but were prepared to make it part of the treaty providing the band understood. The ALR rules would apply, and to get it removed the band would have to follow the steps. I don't see a sovereign nation in this deal nor a third level of government. If the Tsawassen were that level they most certianly wouldn't have to deal with the Province. But they do now and will later. Maybe you have been listening to Gerald Alphonse who talks that way all the time.

I agree with Bill Tieleman's analysis. Maybe Carole James should be asking people like him for advice instead of whatever weak-minded fool is advising the NDP "leader" presently. Carole James is taking this party back to the days of Bob Skelly with her silly, nonsensical positions on an array of issues. Time for a leader. We haven't had one since 2003!

"Where to start?"

Indeed, where to start. I will try to be brief. Bernard states that “BC will not be able to impose its laws in relation to lands on Tsawwassen lands unless the Treaty allows. ... What Tsawassen wants to do with their land is their business. ... Tsawwassen is not a private property owner in any sense of the word. They are a government that has Crown like legal powers over their lands.”

All of this is, as everyone including Bernard well knows, quite the opposite of what is actually the case. The laws of B.C. will absolutely apply to lands whose ownership is transferred to the Tsawwassen, as with the Nisga’a, unless exempted by Treaty. The reason that exclusion from the ALR has been included in the Treaty itself is to exempt Chief Baird and the container port businesses from having to go before the Land Commission and argue their case for exclusion. The reason is simple. The Tsawwassen Band will be a private land owner in the case of these properties, contrary to what Bernard is attempting to insinuate. Still, I have to say I like Bernard's psuedo intellectual use of latinate terms like allodial and sui generis, and his fake history lessons going back to 1763. It adds a air of scholarship to the pure BS on offer.

Bernard then offers up this gem:

“I once again return to the issue of, if agricultural land is important in the lower mainland to the public, the public should convert lands that are currently covered by houses and not place the burden on the First Nations.”

This is even more amusing that Bernard’s comments on the Treaty process. He knows very well that the reason the ALR was brought in was because these transformations in land use out of agriculture and into urban development are generally not reversible. Once lands have been taken out of agricultural use and put into residential or commercial/industrial use, they would not be arable lands even if the structures were removed, at least not without inordinate effort and expenditures.

Generally speaking, the above is bunch of paternalistic attitudes. Who is to say that Aboriginals won't manage the land better than the non-Aboriginal ALR process ever did? I guess we all know that they likely won't have that luxury because non-Aboriginals have put them in the position that they need to find anyway possible to eek our a living because of our colonial past.

I thank the Aboriginals every day that we still have beautiful land left in BC - it's a shame that we all know, explicitly or not, that we've robbed Aboriginals so much that the scraps of land "delegated" the the just owners will need to be used for more than they should be.

Marc says.Generally speaking, the above is bunch of paternalistic attitudes. Who is to say that Aboriginals won't manage the land better than the non-Aboriginal ALR process ever did?
The object of having land in a agricultural land zone was and supposedly still is, to grow stuff. The land taken from the land reserve and passed to the band is as reported by the chief herslef planned to be a container parking lot. It won't be doing much growing there. their land base right now has occupiers in a big development , been there for some time. How in God's name will be band be able to provide housing for half of the band that lives off the reserve right now. Nobody wnats to be putting Indians in their place but up till now and not till the teaty is complete will they own and land at all. and for your information bands in BC except for a veryt few Dougla treaties never had any land . The fed were resonsible to provide certain things. It was a poor way to do things, but at the time it wass the only way. This country did not have Indian wars to divide the land

Who is being paternalist, Marc? Is it those like myself who would have preferred a Treaty that did not arbitrarily remove some 200 hectares from the Agricultural Land Reserve? Is it the ALR itself that is paternalistic, and if so, is it paternalistic in all respects, towards every property owner whose land is included in the Land Reserve, or only in relation to lands owned by Indian Bands or Nations?

I was one who favoured land claims settlements all along and was delighted when the Nisga'a reached a settlement. I think Treaties allow Indian Bands and Nations to move away from the truly paternalistic world of the federal Indian Act and instead become fully participating members of the contemporary civil society of British Columbia and Canada. With that comes new tax liabilities they presently avoid, and a requirement to respect provincial legislation on lands transferred to them as part of the Treaty deal.

Thankfully, this is not the final word on treaties, just one Treaty. It's not a template to be followed everywhere. A future Carole James-NDP Govt can say as a matter of policy that it will not agree to ALR exclusions of the type contained in this deal, because they don't want to compromise B.C.'s relatively scarce agricultural land base, especially in the Lower Fraser Valley. The test of that resolve would come if the other two parties to a negotiation, that is an Indian claimant and the federal negotiators, were to jointly insist that only a land transfer and ALR exclusion will result in a deal.

That kind of combination could easily occur if a business-friendly federal Grit or Tory Govt were to hear from B.C. business leaders that their members want some new farmland brought into the system for commercial or industrial development. And that would be especially likely to happen with a Liberal federal government, since Liberal politicians enjoy a close relationship with many Aboriginal politicians, and these two players may well see their interests as similar in the area of business desires for fresh farmland to build on.

I'm trying to make sense of this debate and Bill Tieleman makes the most compelling argument above, IMHO.

There were clearly many options available in putting together a package of proposals that would constitute a fair settlement and satisfy the aspirations of the Tsawwassen First Nation while serving the best interests of all British Columbians in the long run.

The Premier's package offers BC short-term economic gain at the expense of long-term sustainability. No surprise there, though we shouldn't be fooled into thinking that all the various other choices would have been unfair or paternalistic to First Nations. The NDP leader is abandonning key principles to go along, perhaps out of fear that a more nuanced stand would be used against her by a hostile press.

It seems to be the usual story of short-term, gutless politics over-ruling BC's long-term interests, but history will be the judge.

The NDP leader is abandonning key principles to go along, perhaps out of fear that a more nuanced stand would be used against her by a hostile press.

Dawn, what you're putting forward here is what Bill Tieleman is saying. And it's not accurate, as I think you're well aware. When you're confronted by circumstances beyond your control with a conflict between two principles, you're going to have to violate one or the other. That's what is involved here given that legislators must vote up or down on the entire Treaty agreement as an integral package, a point that neither you nor Bill Tieleman have the courtesy to acknowledge.

The Government majority is going to pass this Treaty no matter which way the NDP opposition votes. The NDP either votes against the first negotiated treaty to be concluded and agreed to by the Band in question after a billion dollars in treaty negotiation costs, or it votes in favour of a treaty that includes an odious ALR exclusion that the Land Commission hasn't even had a chance to rule on. They are caught in conflict with basic principles either way.

Dawn, can either you or Bill Tieleman explain why you refuse to acknowledge that this is an unpalatable choice either way? Why do you have to pretend that the only principle at stake is preserving farmland, when you know very well that concluding treaties is also involved?

You are right about one thing. A hostile press would have driven it down the NDP's throat if they had voted against the treaty, just as they are driving it down the NDP's throat for supporting the treaty and voting in favour of the ALR exclusions. I specifically asked Bill why he won't tell people in his columns that if Carole James had followed his course and voted against this treaty, that certain supposedly left/liberal pundits like Keith Baldrey and Terry Glavin would in particular be going after Carole James with machine guns. And Bill has politely refused to answer.

"Generally speaking, the above is bunch of paternalistic attitudes. Who is to say that Aboriginals won't manage the land better than the non-Aboriginal ALR process ever did? I guess we all know that they likely won't have that luxury because non-Aboriginals have put them in the position that they need to find anyway possible to eek our a living because of our colonial past."

Don't trot out that card quite yet. We already know how they are going to "manage" the land. They're going to sell it to allow Deltaport expansion. Follow the bouncing ball. Band signs treaty, sells land to Deltaport and two "problems" that the government had are solved at once. I can see it. Most people can. But not Carole James and the NDP. She supports it despite "problems".

Carole is a nice lady, but none too bright, and I sure wouldn't want to see her as premier -- fortunately, she has the party mired in the polls at about 30% so that's not going to happen. It's time for the NDP to get a more decisive leader than Carole -- anyone know what Bob Skelly's been up to lately?

I do wish some folks would stop talking as if the negotiations with this small band was around a billion dollars. That's the total for all negotiations for the almost 75 percent of indians in BC. It would be failry easy to find the costs on the Tsawassen so far. As an aside were you arware that our premier forked over 35 millions to two local bands here in the Victoria area to ensure we own the legislature. Way back when Gordo and Co. hated Indians treaties et al, he filabustered, went to court, had a referendum. The referendum slowed things down and upset the two bands who were going to court to claim the land, even though Songhees one was moved to Songhees two a long time ago. Gordo got a vision and up pops 35 millions of our dollars. Way to go Gordy. This time he was passing money, free aircraft trips and who knows what else to get a treaty, and the sky was the limit. So some ALR land was removed and is to be passed along, no strings attached. Want a job for life as a consultant or lawyer, go work for a band. A ex deputy minister was one of the advisors to Tsawassen, and he sure as hell knew the policies that were in place pre Gordon.
James made an ass of herself plain and simple. Will she go? Well that's up to her party members.

"It's time for the NDP to get a more decisive leader than Carole -- anyone know what Bob Skelly's been up to lately?"

I forget if it was Vaughn Smyth or Mikc Palmer who started the Bob Skelly line. Very original of you Larry. Is there any particular NDP MLA you're backing with these comments? I told Bill Tieleman I am not buying any part of this so I may as well tell you too!

I am entirely with Dawn on this issue. Tieleman makes, by far and away, most sense on this issue.

And, Budd, Bob Skelly might not be an improvement to Carole James's cooked goose, but he'd certainly be no worse...

It simply blows me away the number of experts we have on Aboriginal Treaties and (better yet), just how limited self government will be.

I mean, we haven't even completed one settlement under the BC Treaty Process and the pundits are already in charge.

Bernard, I'd suggest you are closer to the case than most on this, including quite a few who seem insistent that Aboriginal rights are mere districtions to be defined and then quickly dismissed as being counter-productive to the existing non-native needs.

The arrogance I can only hope is historical and will die out with the current generation of colonial mindsets fade away.

Yes, Bud, understood that the MLAs can only vote yes or no on the package presented (and I guess it's the same for the Tsawwassen people). But it is possible for the NDP or any MLA to vote one way while pointing out the pros and cons of the deal, though, as acknowledged, I imagine that politics precludes telling it like it is.

And no, I certainly don't pretend to be an expert in this area - just agreeing with Bill T. that the details can make a negotiated settlement more or less of a win/win proposition for all. The future of BC is inextricably tied to that of First Nations and vice versa so I'd guess there are many potential options that could make for win/win treaty deals. But we're not at the table and the leaders calling the shots have their priorities, like short-term political goals, that get in the way.

Dawn, during the NDP's term if office, while Glen Clark was Premier, a property near Kamloops was taken out of the ALR on the ground that the "provincial interest" was served by doing so. In that instance, the provincial interest meant that the economic value of the property as a golf course and condo development greatly exceeded anything that could be achieved by keeping it in agriculture.

The Kamloops area property is the old Six Mile ranch and, while I too think the ALR is worth preserving, I'd suggest that project as a poor example of land to fight the good fight over.

At best, the land in question grew a couple of crops of hay a year to feed beef cattle.

Do the math on the costs (economic and environmental) of beef and it's obvious golf courses and high end condos start to look fairy pristine.

The Six Mile land deal, which began as a project in the '80s was done above board, in front of the public and lasted, if I'm right correct through about four different administrations in Victoria.

The current Tsawwassen ALR deal was a sneaky backroom plot hatched and conducted out of the premier's office.

Apples and oranges, I'd say.

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