Joint statement on land management discussions
Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and Marvin Yahey, Chief of the Blueberry River First Nations, have released the following update regarding the ongoing active discussions about land management in the territory:
“Today marks the sixth month since the B.C. Supreme Court issued its ruling on Yahey v. British Columbia. It determined that the constitutionally protected Treaty 8 rights of the Blueberry River First Nations have been breached by the cumulative effects of provincially authorized industrial activities within their territory. Justice Burke determined that these activities have infringed on the Nations’ ability to maintain their Indigenous way of life, centred on hunting, trapping and fishing throughout their territory as they have done for generations.
“The provincial government respects the ruling of the court, and over the last six months has been working with Blueberry River First Nations to implement the court’s decision, seeking to improve land management processes in a way that protects and respects Treaty 8 rights while balancing the economy, local jobs and the environment.
“In October, we signed an agreement as an important first step in healing the land and providing stability and certainty for 195 permit holders. Since then, these important discussions are continuing and, together, we are eager to bring forward a shared, long-term solution that supports a sustainable and stable economy.
“We recognize that this court decision has significant implications in the region, and that it has caused uncertainty for workers and local communities.
“The work we are doing involves addressing over 100 years of impacted treaty rights. We undertake this work with urgency, and we are committed to doing this right. As we work together to build a path forward, it is our expectation that everyone in the region be treated with courtesy and respect.
“Both parties remain committed to providing regular updates about these discussions and we will continue to seek input from industry, local governments and residents where appropriate.
“Our shared goal is to establish sustainability and certainty for the benefit of everyone who lives and works here, in the service of securing a positive future for everyone in northeast British Columbia.”
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