More Treaty News

BC Business Interests
Didn't Want a Treaty Referendum
in the First Place

"Treaty negotiations and aboriginal rights
are extremely sensitive issues.
A referendum that relates to such issues is
fraught with the danger that it could act as a
lightning rod for unjustified animosity
and negativity towards aboriginal people
who are trying to resolve the issues
surrounding their status as Canadians."

The above quote is from BC Chamber of Commerce President John Winter, October 2001. The following is his response April 10th, 2002 to a request from Turtle Island Native Network for him to clarify his position on the referendum

From: "John Winter"
To: "'Tehaliwaskenhas-Bob Kennedy'"
Subject: RE: Urgent! Treaty Referendum
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002 14:44:00 -0700

Thank you for the note Bob.

Yes, you were right when you suggest the chamber has not been a big supporter of the referendum but not necessarily for the reasons you might suspect.

In our view, there is no single issue facing BC today of higher priority than getting our land use policies in order. If BC expects to regain its leadership position within Canada as the place to invest and create employment, then the uncertainty that surrounds land use (and that includes treaty making) must be dealt with, and quickly.

In our view, the referendum has set us further back as the government has wasted a year fulfilling its election promise and not dealt with the real issues of economic development. Now that the referendum is a reality, we have encouraged our members to exercise their civic duty and participate. Whether they like the questions or not is not the issue - providing government with their perspective and taking advantage of the only real opportunity they will be provided for input, is the issue.

A small response rate will solve nothing other than more chaos and unsettling of the parties. We need to create an environment where all stakeholders in our economic expansion get to participate, and that is where we need to concentrate post referendum.

Hope this helps with your project. Regards,

-----Original Message-----
From: Tehaliwaskenhas-Bob Kennedy []
Sent: April 5, 2002 8:55 AM
Subject: Urgent! Treaty Referendum

Dear Mr. Winter

You may recall we chatted last fall around the time of your presentation to the BC Committee looking at the Treaty Referendum.

At that time, you presented, on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce concerns regarding the planned Treaty Referendum.

It was my understanding that you preferred no referendum at all, but seeing as the government was going ahead with it, that you wanted to ensure it was a referendum that addressed your concerns.

Now that the referendum is real can you please comment on whether or not it has met the Chamber's interests related to your October submission.

Thank you for making time to reply to this request for your comments. Please feel free to go into as much detail as necessary to provide context for your comments which we will post.

Bob Kennedy
Turtle Island Native Network

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