Premier Horgan has issued mandate letters to each of his ministers. There are a significant number of items in these letters focused on First Nations. What are these? What do they say about the new government’s approach to the relationship with Indigenous people in BC? What do they mean for your nation? Are they achievable? Should there be others?
Over the coming weeks we will be exploring the mandate letters as they relate to First Nations and Indigenous people in BC to try to answer these and other questions. We invite you to join us examining and discussing what they mean to all of us, and the developing relationship between Indigenous and settler peoples in this province.
BC Cabinet Mandate Letters re: First Nations
As part of our commitment to true, lasting reconciliation with First Nations in British Columbia our government will be fully adopting and implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. As minister, you are responsible for moving forward on the calls to action and reviewing policies, programs, and legislation to determine how to bring the principles of the declaration into action in British Columbia.
Attorney General (David Eby)
- Improve and support legal aid, including First Nations legal services, dispute resolution services for families and expanded poverty law services to increase access to justice.
- Work with First Nations to set targets and take action to reduce the numbers of Aboriginal people involved in the justice system and incarcerated.
Children and Families (Katrine Conroy)
- Work to implement the recommendations from Grand Chief Ed John’s report and provide better supports to keep Aboriginal children at home and out of care.
- Make reducing the number of Aboriginal children entering our care system a priority.
- Work to ensure Delegated Aboriginal Agencies are supported to offer services at the same level offered to non-Aboriginal children.
Education (Rob Fleming)
- Implement the new First Nations history curriculum, develop full-course offerings in Aboriginal languages and implement the educational Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Energy, Mines (Michelle Mungal)
- Ensure British Columbians benefit from liquefied natural gas projects by requiring proposals to meet the following four conditions:
(1) Proposals must include express guarantees of jobs and training opportunities for British Columbians;
(2) Proposals must provide a fair return for our resource;
(3) Proposals must respect and make partners of First Nations; and
(4) Proposals must protect our air, land and water, including living up to our climate commitments.
Environment (George Heyman)
- Revitalize the Environmental Assessment process and review the professional reliance model to ensure the legal rights of First Nations are respected, and the public’s expectation of a strong, transparent process is met.
Finance (Carole James)
- Develop funding partnerships with the federal government, First Nations, municipalities, pension funds, financial institutions and businesses to invest in new capital infrastructure across the province over the next five years.
Forestry, Lands, Resources, and Rural Development (Doug Donaldson)
- Work with the Minister of Indigenous Relations, First Nations and communities to modernize land- use planning and sustainably manage B.C.’s ecosystems, rivers, lakes, watersheds, forests and old growth.
Indigenous Relations And Reconciliation (Scott Fraser)
- Work collaboratively and respectfully with First Nations to establish a clear, cross-government vision of reconciliation to guide the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, and the Tsilhqot’in Supreme Court decision.
- In partnership with First Nations, transform the treaty process so it respects case law and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- Support Indigenous communities seeking to revitalize connections to their languages.
- Provide reliable, dedicated funding and support for Friendship Centres.
- With the Minister of Finance, negotiate with First Nations leadership and communities around expanding opportunities for their share of B.C.’s gaming industry.
Jobs, Trade, Technology
Municipal Affairs, Housing (Selina Robinson)
- Partner with local governments and First Nations to develop a community capital infrastructure fund to upgrade and build sports facilities, playgrounds, local community centres, and arts and culture spaces.
Solicitor General (Mike Farnworth)
- Work with First Nations to set targets and take action to reduce the numbers of Aboriginal people involved in the justice system.
- Recognize culture for its role in rehabilitation and recovery and provide culturally diverse and appropriate programming in prisons, particularly for Aboriginal people.
- Increase support for initiatives that are proven to prevent and reduce crime, and increase the use of restorative justice programs.
Social Development, Poverty
What’s your opinion of these mandates? Add your voice to the dialogue – please leave a comment below.