Principals and Parties

The Principals

The Principals of the BC treaty negotiations process are the Government of Canada, as represented by the Prime Minster of Canada and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and the Government of British Columbia, as represented by the Premier of British Columbia and the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and the First Nations Summit, as represented by a three-member Task Group. 

The Principals are signatories to the BC Treaty Commission Agreement that established the BC Treaty Commission. The Principals’ responsibilities are established by their acceptance and commitment to the 19 recommendations of the Report of the BC Claims Task Force, 1991.

In December 2018, the Principals signed the Principals’ Accord on Transforming Treaty Negotiations in British Columbia. This Accord further strengthens the goals of treaty negotiations: recognition and protection of Aboriginal title and rights, nation-building, and establishing a government-to-government relationship.

In September 2019, the Principals endorsed the Recognition and Reconciliation of Rights Policy for Treaty Negotiations in British Columbia which was co-developed by Canada, British Columbia, and the First Nations Summit. The policy makes it clear that negotiations are based on the recognition of the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples.

Rights recognition was always the intention of treaty negotiations. At the 1992 signing of the BC Treaty Commission Agreement, establishing the made-in-BC treaty negotiations process, Chief Joe Mathias proclaimed: “Negotiations, in our view, will not be based on that tired old notion of extinguishment. We will not tolerate the extinguishment of our collective Aboriginal rights. Let us set that clear today.” 

The Parties

The Parties to the negotiations are individual or collective First Nations, the Government of Canada, and the Government of BC.

Canada and BC represent non-aboriginal interests at the negotiation table for example, local officials represent municipalities and regional districts.  

The First Nations Summit is not a party to treaty negotiations; it is a forum for First Nations in the BC treaty negotiations process. The Treaty Commission is not a party to the negotiations; it is the independent facilitator of negotiations. 

For a list of First Nations in the BC treaty negotiations process see Negotiations Update.

 

Commitment of each Party

When the three parties engage in treaty negotiations, they commit as follows:

 The Government of Canada  The First Nation  The Government of BC

Makes a formal commitment in writing to the First Nation to negotiate a treaty under the BC treaty negotiations process

Makes a formal commitment in writing to Canada and BC to negotiate a treaty under the BC treaty negotiations process

Makes a formal commitment in writing to the First Nation to negotiate a treaty under the BC treaty negotiations process

Appoints a Chief Negotiator and a negotiating team

Appoints a Chief Negotiator and a negotiating team

 Appoints a Chief Negotiator and a negotiating team

Confirms that its negotiators have a comprehensive and clear mandate to negotiate a treaty, and a timely and effective process to develop and modify its mandate throughout the negotiations.This includes the ability to access other government departments

Confirms that its negotiators have a comprehensive and clear mandate from its constituents to negotiate a treaty, and a timely and effective process to develop and modify its mandate throughout the negotiation

Confirms that its negotiators have a comprehensive and clear mandate to negotiate a treaty, and a timely and effective process to develop and modify its mandate throughout the negotiations.This includes the ability to access other government departments

Dedicates resources to support an effective negotiating team with cross-departmental support

Dedicates resources to support an effective negotiating team [the Treaty Commission allocates First Nation Negotiation Support Funding to financially support negotiating requirements]

Dedicates resources to support an effective negotiating team with cross-departmental support

Adopts a ratification procedure for how agreements will be approved

Adopts a ratification procedure for how agreements will be approved

Adopts a ratification procedure for how agreements will be approved

Identifies the substantive and procedural matters for treaty negotiations, which are set out in a Framework Agreement that is the “table of contents” for the negotiations

Identifies the substantive and procedural matters for treaty negotiations, which are set out in a Framework Agreement that is the “table of contents” for the negotiations

Identifies the substantive and procedural matters for treaty negotiations, which are set out in a Framework Agreement that is the “table of contents” for the negotiations

Establishes mechanisms for consultation with non-aboriginal interests

Addresses overlapping and shared territory issues with neighbouring First Nation

Establishes mechanisms for consultation with non-aboriginal interests

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