As part of their Election Coverage, the Daily News is asking questions of the candidates and printing their replies in the Wednesday and Friday editions of the paper.
The following was the "Pressing Question" for Friday, April 24, 2009
Is the Recognition and Reconciliation Act the right way forward for the province and the many First Nations' communities in B.C.?
Gary Coons - New Democratic Party
No legislation has been tabled. We have called for the standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs to be empowered so that an inclusive and transparent reconciliation and recognition process unfolds. Being a member of this committee, we have not met once in 4 years!!
During the Nisga'a Treaty, the Standing Committee met 27 times and involved everyone including the then Liberal Opposition. Rather than continue this process Jordon Campbell took the treaty to court and held a divisive and racist referendum!
The policies of the BC Government must be guided by he UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Lisa Girbav - Green party
I believe the Recognition and Reconciliation act is a step forward for our society.
I like the idea of the government working together with the First Nations people to establish aboriginal title and rights on one single bill.
Also, I agree with the choice to postpone the finalization of the bill until after the Be provincial election. Something like this takes time and should not be rushed into.
Herb Pond – Liberal Party of BC
Yes, as Mayor it became obvious that progress on jobs and pressing social issues in our city was hampered by the lack of formal recognition of the Tsimshian and their territory. We took action. Prince Rupert and Port Edward reached an accord with Tsimshian Communities. I am extremely proud of the accomplishment.
This is about mutual respect and recognition; new certainty on the land base; closing gaps in education, health, housing and economic opportunity. The new approach is producing results in the north. Arrangements and partnerships between First Nations, government and business are announced regularly. I support these new partnerships.