May 1, 2024

(xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C.) The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) condemns inflammatory and inaccurate comments made by the B.C. United and Conservative Party of B.C. about Bill 25, the Haida Nation Recognition Amendment Act, 2024, that appear designed to instill fear and create division.

Conservative Party leader John Rustad has stated that “landowners on Haida Gwaii are at the mercy of future Haida Indigenous law,” and has repeatedly tried to portray fee simple interests as being at risk.

Rather than putting fee simple interests at risk, Bill 25 and the Gaayhllxid/Gíihlagalgang “Rising Tide” Haida Title Lands Agreement (“the Agreement”), confirm, protect and secure them. Expert after expert, as well as the Haida Nation and the Government of British Columbia, have confirmed that Bill 25 and the Agreement do not affect private property rights on Haida Gwaii. One recent commentary by Osler, one of Canada’s leading business law firms, states that “private fee simple property interests are protected” and that to the degree there is legal uncertainty about the relationship between fee simple interests and Aboriginal title, the Agreement “aims to fill this gap in law” by providing guarantees for private property interests.