Victoria - Forest Minister David Zirnhelt responded to comments by the Council of Forest Industries about the Nisga'a Treaty. "I welcome COFI's participation in this important discussion. COFI has participated fully in the considerable dialogue around the Nisga'a Treaty Negotiations Advisory Committee and regional advisory committees," said Zirnhelt. "I'm also pleased to hear COFI express clear support for treaty settlements and their acknowledgement of the urgency of resolving land claims, " said Zirnhelt.
COFI and the forest industry will be major beneficiaries of the certainty the Nisga'a Treaty and other parties will create, helping BC overcome problems associated with being the only Canadian province to have previously failed to reach treaties with First Nations. "I look forward to meeting with COFI in the near future to further discuss the Nisga'a Treaty," said Zirnhelt. Zirnhelt pointed out that government has been clear on all the issues raised on COFI's recent comments:
* Third party compensation - The provincial government has stated from the outset of negotiations that it is committed to avoid impairing the interest of third parties and that, in cases where it is unavoidable, the government is committed to fair compensation through negotiation.
* Crown authority - As a TNAC participant, COFI has received extensive briefings on the application of provincial and federal law and standards in the critical areas of wildlife management, forestry, environmental protection and fisheries.
* Certainty - The government is confident the Nisga'a Treaty gives the finality, stability and confidence that investors and working people need.