Nov 5/98: BC Premier pledges no whaling in treaties


Victoria Times-Colonist
November 5, 1998
Louise Dickson

[S.I.S.I.S. note: The following mainstream news articles may contain biased or distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context. They are provided for reference only.]

The head of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council is accusing Premier Glen Clark of political posturing in refusing to include whaling rights in treaty negotiations in British Columbia. "The province has no jurisdiction in that area anyway. Who cares what he thinks," Richard Watts said. "It's political posturing for the sake of political posturing. He may be desperate for votes."

In Cranbrook Wednesday, Clark said he doesn't support a controversial whale hunt by Washington's Makah tribe. He said whale hunting won't be on the table for BC bands negotiating treaties. "There should not be a whale hunt as part of the negotiations," he said after meeting with more than 40 church leaders on the St. Mary's Indian Band Reserve near Cranbrook to discuss the Nisga'a Treaty. "The difference here is the Makah signed a treaty a hundred years ago and the treaty gives them the right to hunt whales," Clark said. "We don't have any treaties. We're negotiating treaties, and as the province's negotiators, we don't intend to negotiate that into a treaty.

Some BC bands, particularly the Nuu-Chah-Nulth, have said they want whaling rights addressed in treaty negotiations under way with the provincial and federal governments. Watts insisted aboriginal and treaty rights are already entrenched in the Constitution. "It's a substantive issue," said Watts. "We want to negotiate how those rights would be spelled out in the treaty so there's no ifs, ands or buts about it."

Members of the Makah tribe issued themselves a whaling permit Tuesday but they have not yet used it. The Makah Tribal Council issued a 10-day permit to whaling captain Eric Johson, to the delight of tribal members. Stormy weather has prevented tribe members from getting out on the water in their traditional canoes. There are also few whales in the area and several anti-whaling protesters are keeping vigil over the waters.


Glen Clark, Premier of BC:

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