[S.I.S.I.S. note: The following mainstream news article may contain biased or distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context. It is provided for reference only.]
Former Yukon government leader Tony Penikett has been assigned to represent B.C. in discussions with Canada and First Nations over the future of treaties, sources said Wednesday.
Although his appointment has not yet been officially announced, an official at the aboriginal affairs ministry confirmed Penikett had been asked to help with government treaty efforts.
Penikett, a New Democrat who led the Yukon territory until 1992, will make his debut in his new role today at a meeting at the Vancouver offices of the department of Indian affairs.
"If the news of his appointment is correct, it's good news," said Indian affairs regional director John Watson, adding Penikett was well-versed in treaty issues due to his role in the Yukon.
Penikett's appointment coincides with the departure of Bob Plecas as the premier's representative in talks that aim to salvage B.C.'s treaty-making process, which has been in turmoil since a 1997 court decision broadened the scope of aboriginal land rights.
Penikett left the Yukon in 1995 to take a job as senior policy adviser for the NDP government in Saskatchewan. Last year, Premier Glen Clark made him B.C.'s chief negotiator in contract talks with government employees. Penikett will continue in his role in the union negotiations. He could not be reached Wednesday.