Mr. Speaker, the Nisga'a treaty is winding its way through the B.C. legislature. The NDP government is ramming it through using something the Liberals are well familiar with: closure. The federal Liberals have indicated they intend to ram it through parliament, likely using closure as well.
Are these two governments right or wrong? I guess that depends on your point of view. If these governments are dictatorships, then I guess they can do whatever they want. However, if they are a democracy, they have to listen to the people, a rather bothersome concept for both of these parties.
What are the people of B.C. saying? Three regional plebiscites on the Nisga'a treaty have all rejected it by over 90%. The 25 public meetings I held in my riding indicate the same level of rejection.
British Columbians want aboriginal issues settled, but in a manner that works for all. A treaty that places aboriginal assets and powers in the hands of a few does not benefit most aboriginal members. A treaty that provides special benefits to a few on the basis of race does not resolve past differences for anyone. If the Liberals want to end western alienation, they had better start listening to the people of the west, all of them.