Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister Ida Chong released the following statement today regarding the passage of the Tla'amin Nation Treaty Settlement Legislation:
"Today, Bill 4, to ratify the Tla'amin Nation Final Agreement, has become an act. This is the fourth modern treaty to be passed in B.C. under the B.C. treaty process, and the fifth modern treaty overall. Tla'amin is the ninth First Nation in B.C. to have its treaty passed in the last 13 years. In that time, B.C. has ratified final agreements with Nisga'a, Tsawwassen, Maa-nulth (five First Nations), and most recently Yale First Nation.
"Investing in treaties enables First Nations to increase their participation in the economy and reduce reliance on government transfers. Final agreements also encourage investment, stimulate business activity and generate economic benefits for the First Nation, as well as the surrounding region.
"The implications of not addressing B.C.'s outstanding land question affects B.C.'s economy and discourages investment in some cases, but the alternative is costly and lengthy court challenges which, to date, rarely have gone in favour of governments. Uncertainty over ownership of land impedes the development of Aboriginal communities and economies by their government and by the private sector, as well.
"The social requirement to negotiate treaties is compelling. Aboriginal people must enjoy the same quality of life as other British Columbians. Yet, at this time, they do not.
"This treaty will be the beginning of a new relationship between Tla'amin Nation and B.C., one based on true reconciliation with the citizens of Tla'amin."
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
250 361-7720 (cellular)