Victoria, BC – Leaders of the First Nations Summit are angered by the provincial government’s lack of commitment to treaty negotiations in the 2004-05 budget delivered today. The treaty negotiation office is facing a thirty-seven percent decrease in funding over the next two years, which the First Nations Summit says demonstrates no real commitment to finalizing treaties in BC.
“The finance minister’s budget cuts to the treaty negotiation office are just one more example of the provincial government’s lack of commitment to resolve treaties,” said Grand Chief Edward John, Executive member of the First Nations Summit. “The government has stated their priority is to expand efforts to achieve reconciliation with First Nations, but that is not reflected in today’s budget.”
“Rather than negotiating comprehensive agreements, the government is focusing on short-term “take it or leave it” economic measures, providing little opportunity for negotiation and no long-term economic stability for First Nation’s communities,” said Lydia Hwitsum, also an executive member of the First Nations Summit.