There was a surprising omission when Premier Gordon Campbell released a statement last month commemorating the National Day of Reconciliation. In the statement, the premier noted the province is "building on our New Relationship with Aboriginal people. This relationship was founded on mutual respect, recognition and reconciliation. We are building economic opportunities in Aboriginal communities. We are supporting the development of Aboriginal governance. We are working to improve the lives of Aboriginal people." But there was no specific mention of the government's proposed and controversial Recognition and Reconciliation Act.
Similarly, the premier's opinion editorial on National Aboriginal Day also didn't reference that act. Instead, the premier simply stated government "must continue building the New Relationship and exploring different ways, through either legislation or agreement" to "close the gaps between First Nations and non-First Nations." Which makes us wonder why.
The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned statement.
For Immediate Release
June 11, 2009
Office of the Premier
PREMIER'S STATEMENT ON NATIONAL DAY OF RECONCILIATION
VICTORIA - Premier Gordon Campbell made the following statement to commemorate the National Day of Reconciliation:
"On this day one year ago, British Columbians witnessed the Prime Minister delivering a historic apology to survivors of residential schools. It was a recognition of the suffering of the survivors. It was an opportunity to begin the healing process. It was a beginning, not an end.
"I congratulate the federal government on continuing this process of reconciliation by declaring June National Aboriginal History Month. The celebration of National Aboriginal Day on June 21 will now be bolstered by a month of cultural awareness. I encourage British Columbians to take this opportunity to learn more about the significant contributions Aboriginal people have made to our province and our country.
"In B.C., we are building on our New Relationship with Aboriginal people. This relationship was founded on mutual respect, recognition and reconciliation. We are building economic opportunities in Aboriginal communities. We are supporting the development of Aboriginal governance. We are working to improve the lives of Aboriginal people.
"Through the New Relationship, we are working with Aboriginal people to close long-standing social and economic gaps between Aboriginal people and other British Columbians. Reconciliation is an integral part of that process. Today's important anniversary is an opportunity for all British Columbians to reflect on the importance of reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples, and consider what more we can achieve in the future."