First Nations Leadership Council Statement regarding election of Christy Clark as Premier-designate

News Release - February 28, 2011

(Coast Salish Territory / Vancouver – February 28, 2011) The First Nations Leadership Council is taking a wait and see approach following the election of Christy Clark as the new Leader of the BC Liberal Party and Premier-designate of British Columbia.

"We congratulate Ms. Clark on her election as the Premier–designate of British Columbia”, said Chief Douglas White of the First Nations Summit Political Executive. “First Nations across this province will now be looking to the new Premier for her commitment to work with First Nations to address the horrible reality of too many of our children who are born into chronic and grinding poverty and to close the socio-economic gaps faced by our communities, to work to implement existing treaties between First Nations and the Crown and to reinvigorate BC's approach to reconciliation of our Aboriginal Title and Rights through treaty negotiations, and continue our joint efforts to implement the principles of the New Relationship based on mutual respect and recognition.”

"We congratulate Christy Clark and we are extremely interested in her 'families first' campaign message. First Nations deeply resent the disgraceful levels of inter-generational child poverty within our communities while many resource-based companies prosper from our territories,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. "Governments and big business must recognize our constitutionally-enshrined, judicially-recognized and internationally declared Aboriginal Title, Rights and Treaty Rights through true revenue-sharing and shared decision-making to ensure all of our children enjoy a safe, healthy and prosperous future."

"Congratulations to the BC Liberals on selecting their new leader, Christy Clark, soon to be BC’s second female premier. Much progress has been made over the past 10 years under the leadership of Premier Gordon Campbell whom we send our best wishes”, said Regional Chief Jody Wilson Raybould of the BC Assembly of First Nations, “Ms. Clark has the opportunity to continue along the same path as her predecessor towards reconciliation with our Nations through the full recognition of our Title and Rights. While our communities face many challenges, we are having success and can continue to make progress where there is understanding and a willingness to cooperate. We look forward to working with Ms. Clark."

The First Nations Leadership Council will be seeking an early meeting with Premier-designate Clark to discuss how her government will work with First Nations to revitalize work to implement the commitments made in the New Relationship and continue towards a new era of co-operation where Aboriginal Title and Rights are recognized; where each other’s laws and responsibilities are respected and where both Aboriginal and Crown titles and jurisdictions are reconciled.

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For more information and further comment:
Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould, BC Assembly of First Nations (604) 922-7733
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs (604) 684-0231
Chief Douglas White, First Nations Summit (604) 926-9903

UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.