[S.I.S.I.S. note: The following release from BC's "Liberal" Official opposition party, issued February 2, demonstrates that between the NDP government and the Liberals, indigenous people are truly between a rock and a hard place.]
Victoria - BC Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell warned today that the NDP's silence on the Delgamuukw ruling on aboriginal title is fast becoming yet another major impediment to economic investment and job creation in British Columbia. Campbell's comments were made in response to the revelation this morning that the First Nations Summit is laying claim to all land and resources in BC, and is threatening legal action aimed at suspending normal resource development activities on Crown land.
"The Clark government's dithering on the Delgamuukw decision is a prescription for economic paralysis and increased uncertainty about aboriginal title," Campbell said. "It's high time the provincial government stated clearly and unequivocally that it will not be bullied, threatened or intimidated by some leaders in the aboriginal community who want to stop resource development on Crown land. "If the Supreme Court's decision has taught the federal and provincial governments anything, it is that they must insist on the historic requirement for surrender of aboriginal title on Crown land in exchange for any new treaty rights and benefits. The fact is even more clear today, given the new hard line being taken by BC's aboriginal leaders," Campbell said.
Campbell noted that the proposed Nisga'a settlement would not require Nisga'a to "cede release and surrender" any aboriginal rights or title in exchange for their new treaty rights and benefits. "The Clark Government cannot continue to stick its head in the sand and pretend that the Delgamuukw decision will only help treaty talks, when the reverse is true," Campbell said. "In the absence of treaties, or further direction from the courts on aboriginal title, the NDP must leave no doubt that it will use the full weight of the law to ensure that economic investment and job creation is not hamstrung by government inaction."
For more information contact:
Gordon Campbell, 250-213-8218
Room 201, Parliament Buildings, Victoria, BC V8V 1X4
Fax (250) 356-6176
Full text of December 11, 1997 ruling: http://kafka.uvic.ca/~vipirg/SISIS/clark/97delrul.html Index of Delgamuukw/Gitksan articles, analysis, and commentary: http://kafka.uvic.ca/~vipirg/SISIS/clark/gitksan.html Background information on Delgamuukw case: http://kafka.uvic.ca/~vipirg/SISIS/clark/scchoax.html