EDITORIAL: Trust in treaty process?

Was the B.C. Liberal government’s trotting out of local First Nations leaders to sign another treaty a case of pre-election grandstanding?

Was the B.C. Liberal government’s trotting out of local First Nations leaders to sign another treaty a case of pre-election grandstanding?

Or was it the legitimate announcement of the latest significant step in the B.C. treaty process?

Probably a little of both. Regardless of the timing of the transfer of lands to five First Nations, including the Songhees, aboriginal communities stand to benefit greatly from the deal signed at the legislature.

The properties signed over to the Songhees, for example, include the current site of a government liquor store at Esquimalt and Admirals roads, the Provincial Capital Commission office building on Pandora Avenue and a parking lot in James Bay.

The deal does not exempt the bands from paying property tax, but the acquisition price is right. The potential economic foothold the Songhees and others gain as landlords, developers or vendors could be significant — they can manage the properties how they see fit, within local rules and regulations.

The key word here is potential.

Governments, business and individuals can help empower our aboriginal communities and enhance self-sufficiency through the transfer of lands, offering business coaching services, buying handcrafted products or even mentoring youth. From there, First Nations need to take the next steps themselves.

It’s already happening in some areas. The Songhees are well into the construction of their $16-million health, administration and recreation centre in Esquimalt. And they are partners with Esquimalt Nation in Salish Sea Industrial Services, a marine-based company.

Adding a trio of revenue properties to the mix — if managed well — could further stabilize our aboriginal communities through creating long-term employment for people who have struggled to find work.

The first concrete land agreement in 20 years for the Songhees shows progress in the willingness of the province and First Nations leaders to do what it takes to move closer to finalizing settlements. It also shows more trust in First Nations that they can be good stewards of urban lands, not just those around reserves.

Victoria News

Just Posted

Comox resident proposes golf course conversion to park

A Comox resident is hoping he’s not the only one who would… Continue reading

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Taxing Vancouver Island

Big Read: find out which communities are paying the lowest and highest taxes on Vancouver Island

Y2K Spitfire comes home

Stocky Edwards guest of honour at banquet

Crown Isle acquires Longlands Golf Course

The Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community just got a little bit… Continue reading

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

Amalgamation fails in North Cowichan and Duncan

North Cowichan says yes, but Duncan says no

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

Lawyer fired in B.C. courtroom during trial for dangerous driving causing death

Dustin Dennis Zinter was charged following November 2015 accident near Nanaimo, B.C.

Most Read