Bill 41 a ‘step toward reconciliation’: MLA

Katzie will get meaningful consultation, says Chief George

Premier John Horgan announces Indigenous rights will be recognized in B.C. with the introduction of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. (Chad Hipolito – The Canadian Press photo)

Premier John Horgan announces Indigenous rights will be recognized in B.C. with the introduction of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. (Chad Hipolito – The Canadian Press photo)

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare said it was a huge moment when the B.C. government became the first in North America to recognize the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

Beare said passing Bill 41 was the highlight of the fall session of the B.C. Legislature.

“It’s a truly historic piece of legislation. We’re enshrining the rights of indigenous people,” she said. “It’s an amazing step toward reconciliation.”

It passed unanimously, and now all government legislation will be looked at through the eyes of First Nations rights and indigenous governments will have the ability to be at the table with government, said Beare.

The government has already made moves in this direction, Beare added, such as seeking First Nations input on environmental issues and child welfare.

She said the government is not giving First Nations new rights.

“These rights already exist – that has been made amply clear by the courts.”

The cabinet minister said it will help all levels of government by ultimately providing stable, predictable processes for future decisions on land use and other issues.

Katzie First Nation Chief Grace George also called it a historic moment, saying the bill creates a pathway for meaningful consultation, recognition, and acknowledgment of her people’s rights and title to the land and waterways.

“Katzie will have access to meaningful consultation thorough Bill 41, and I’m happy about that as Katzie people have occupied these lands for over 10,000 years,” she said.

“We actually have something that supports our work with restoring waterways, maintaining significant artifact sites, protecting our sacred sites, and restoring environmental impacts on our lands. Daily, our Katzie leadership council and staff work hard to protect what little we have left, and it’s not always easy.”

George said she has attended numerous gatherings of First Nations leaders to talk about the bill, and watched it transform. Now, there will be a lot more work to do, to ensure all B.C. laws are consistent with the UN declaration.

The new law creates a respectful foundation for government-to-government decision making with the six municipalities Katzie is working with directly, added George.

Grand Chief Doug Kelly, chair of the First Nations Health Council, said Bill C41 is a call to action.

“What it will require, however, is for First Nations leaders and citizens to work together like never before, and it also requires the provincial government to change.”


 

@NeilCorbett18
ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Darlene and her son, Nolan, share time with a book. To protect his health, Nolan is not able to visit the library branch but the many services it offers allows the family to access materials at home. (FVRL/Special to The News)
COLUMN: Maple Ridge library branch has been a lifeline for many during pandemic

Did you know FVRL library cards are free to local residents?

Members of the Haney Horsemen and other equestrian users will be riding the Thornhill Trails in large numbers this weekend. (Haney Horsemen/Special to The News)
Horsemen out in force in Maple Ridge this weekend

Riders assert need to save Thornhill Trails for equestrian users

There has been a COVID-19 exposure at Olympians Gym in Maple Ridge. (Black Press files)
COVID exposure at Maple Ridge gym

Exposure took place at Olympians Gym Feb. 17-19

Local letter writer said fundraiser might help change social perception about people who are homeless. (Black Press Media file photo)
LETTER: What if society held a telethon to help homeless

Pitt Meadows resident lauds Variety Club for telethon. Would the fundraiser work for other causes?

The Harris Park pool in Pitt Meadows will not be open for the 2021 season. (The News files)
Pitt Meadows closes pool for the coming season

COVID-19 safety measures would limit swimmers at Harris Park pool

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Passengers aboard Komagata Maru in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet, 1914 - Library and Archives Canada image
Abbotsford council is asked to rename street in memory of Komagata Maru victims

Most of 376 the passengers aboard ship were denied entry into Canada in 1914

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Framed photos of Travis Selje and other items fill the top of a dresser in his bedroom. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Crown says defence case epilepsy caused fatal Surrey crash fails on balance of probabilities

‘She very clearly had some form of control over that vehicle,’ Crown argues

Most Read