Nov 19/98: Religious leaders back Nisga'a deal


The Vancouver Sun
November 19, 1998
Douglas Todd

[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.]

A coalition of prominent B.C. religious leaders has come out in full support of B.C.'s contentious Nisga'a treaty.

Anglican, Catholic, United, Baptist, Unitarian and Zoroastrian officials this week endorsed the general principles of the agreement with the federal and provincial governments, saying it is the "result of good faith negotiation."

Their statement -- signed by Vancouver Catholic Archbishop Adam Exner and B.C. Anglican Archbishop David Crawley -- is expected to be unveiled today at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of B.C. as part of a gathering of 100 B.C. faith representatives, along with Premier Glen Clark.

The primate of the 750,000-member Anglican Church of Canada, Michael Peers, will be in Vancouver from Toronto to join Nisga'a elders in leading a Friday evening liturgical celebration of the Nisga'a treaty at Christ Church Cathedral.

"I look forward to the fulfilment of the dreams and work of almost a century as we press on to an historic agreement with Canada and British Columbia," Peers said.

He is an adopted member of the Nisga'a people of northwestern B.C., among whom Anglican clergy have worked for more than a century.

Exner and Crawley are two of the most influential B.C. religious leaders who signed the joint statement, which backs the Nisga'a treaty on the grounds the Nisga'a never ceded any of their territory by treaty, and had their lands occupied and resources taken away.

However, the treaty, which will not take effect until it has been approved by the provincial legislature and Parliament, is meeting strong resistance from the federal Reform party and B.C. Liberal leader Gordon Campbell.

The B.C. religious leaders who signed the document include: Exner, Crawley, Rev. Jeremy Bell of the Baptist Union of Western Canada, Rev. Phillip Hewitt of the Unitarian Church, Deirdre Kelly of the Catholic diocese of Victoria, Rev. Edwin Searcy of University Hill United Church and Bella Tata of the Zoroastrian Society of B.C.

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