This important meeting of the First Nations Summit Chiefs, the Premier and the British Columbia Cabinet is an opportunity to develop a viable working relationship between the British Columbia Government and First Nations to resolvethelandquestion. Forthelastdecade,weasFirstNationshaveurged British Columbia and Canada to work with us to address the challenges we face – challenges such as providing clear and comprehensive mandates to government negotiators. We have proposed and continue to propose changes to the negotiation process so we can proceed in good faith as the courts have urged and as was our hope when we entered the process in the early 1990s. Both First Nations and the courts have repeatedly advanced the themes of reconciliation, good faith, accommodation, respect and recognition. These must be the cornerstones of our new relationship and the basis for finding fair and workable solutions.
The Superior Courts of this province and country have grown impatient with the ongoing strategy of denial and intransigence on the part of governments. Governments need to recognize and acknowledge in their legislation, policies and mandates that there has been significant development in the law regarding Aboriginal rights and title, and treaty rights. We can begin with the immediate challenge of determining jointly how we will implement the legal duties and responsibilities imposed by the courts.