Sunday, April 21, 2024

BC controversially scraps proposed Land Act amendments allowing First Nations involvement


On Wednesday, February 21st, the BC government  announced that they would be scrapping proposed amendments to the Land Act that would allow for First Nations involvement when making decisions about public land-use. 

The amendments came about initially to have the Province’s policies align with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

Nathan Cullen, BC’s Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship says that the amendments were thrown out due to concerned stakeholders who operate in the mining, forestry, oil and gas and tourism industries among others. 

Cullen spoke with 650 interested parties, non-representative of the involved First Nations, and they believed the amendments should go back to the drawing board. 

“From the very beginning of this process, I promised that we would listen and take the time to get any changes right,” Cullen wrote in a statement.

“That our focus was to make it easier to work together with First Nations and provide more opportunities for better jobs and a stronger future.”

“In conversations with these groups, many were surprised to learn that the claims being made about the proposed legislation by some were not true and that there would be no impacts to tenures, renewals, private properties or access to Crown land,” he continued. 

Cullen says that some have been seeking to divide the public on these matters which has caused setbacks with the amendments prior to this, however he did not elaborate on who those figures were.

“Throughout these conversations, the vast majority have told us they want reconciliation to work and they want to be partners in this work to create opportunity for First Nations, businesses and all communities through working together,” said Cullen.

“I’ve also heard that we need to take the time to further engage with people and demonstrate the real benefits of shared decision-making in action. We want to get this right and move forward together.”

For those reasons, the amendments have been scrapped and the Province will start from square one in how they want to bring First Nations into the fold, without upsetting industry stakeholders.

Curtis Blandy

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