Premier John Horgan has placed British Columbia First Nations issues near the top of his government’s priority list, committing his cabinet to transform the stalled treaty talks and negotiate revenue-sharing agreements.
Horgan issued letters to each his 22 cabinet ministers reminding them of his government’s promise to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
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First Nations leaders say they eagerly anticipate working with Horgan’s New Democrats after years of road blocks under the former Liberal government.
First Nations Summit spokeswoman Cheryl Casimer says the Liberals consistently rejected calls to share provincial gaming revenues even though most other provinces in Canada have such agreements.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs says he expects a huge change in relations now with a government committed to move on economic, legal, social, environmental and cultural fronts.
Horgan has told Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser to start negotiations with First Nations to expand opportunities for a share of B.C.’s gaming industry.