Shortly after being elected, Premier Gordon Campbell indicated that the provincial government intended to honour its commitment to hold a province wide referendum on the principles of treaty negotiations in late 2001 or early 2002. The Premier has indicated that the proposed referendum is not about Aboriginal rights or title which are protected under Section 35 of the Constitution.
The Select Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, which is made up entirely of Liberal party MLAs, has been charged with overseeing the development of the referendum question(s). The Committee will be conducting public hearings around the Province during the month of October 2001 and accepting written submissions until November 2, 2001. The Committee will provide its report and recommendations to the Legislative Assembly no later than November 30, 2001.
The First Nations Summit is completely opposed to any referendum on treaty negotiations. A referendum will only create divisions and contention in the province. Further, the moral and legal rights of one group (First Nations) should not be determined by a majority. We cannot emphasize or repeat too many times how divisive the referendum will be.