Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver – Representatives of the BC Government provided notice yesterday to the First Nations Summit (FNS) Political Executive that the Province has determined that it is not willing to support the appointment of George Abbott to the position of Chief Commissioner of the BC Treaty Commission (BCTC).
The FNS Political Executive is taken aback and seriously disappointed in this late arriving decision, which comes after six months of discussions among the three Principals to the treaty negotiation process (Canada, BC and the FNS). Disturbingly, this decision also comes after the recent First Nations Summit Chiefs’ Resolution #1014.02 formally appointing Mr. Abbott as Chief Commissioner. The Province’s blatant disregard for agreement among the Principals and processes already undertaken is unacceptable. This situation raises questions about our ability to rely upon agreements made among the Principals and the provincial government’s commitment to treaty negotiations in BC and to achieving reconciliation with First Nations.
The FNS Political Executive remains committed to ensuring a Chief Commissioner is appointed as soon as possible and is engaged in discussions with representatives from the BC Government and the Government of Canada regarding next steps. As the selection process continues, it is our understanding that the BC Treaty Commission will continue to carry out its mandated work. In this regard, the BCTC commissioners may select an interim Chief Commissioner following the process set out in the BC Treaty Commission Act