Monday, December 14, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Monday, December 14, 2009

The Charlotte's get banished from the road maps, the Fisheries Minister stops in for a cup of coffee and not much more and the city issues layoff notices to some city workers. Some of the items of note for the Monday news cycle.

Daily News, front page, headline story
'THE QUEEN CHARLOTTES' EXIST NO MORE -- The Daily News outlines the details of last weeks announcement to strike the term Queen Charlotte Islands from official communications, maps and other resource materials as well as making official the partnership between the Council of the Haida Nation and the provincial government in resource management on Haida Gwaii.

The fishery minister makes a one day pit stop in Prince Rupert to discuss issues of the fishery, though one of the most important of stakeholders in the resource, the fishermen apparently are not to be on her agenda.

Naikun's latest news makes page three of the Daily News, with some background on the most recent stage of development for the wind farm project. As we outlined on the blog on Saturday morning (see posting here), the wind power group received its provincial Environmental Assessment Certificate, part of the ongoing process to bring the proposed wind power project in Hecate Strait to the finish line.
The Daily outlines some news from City Hall, where layoff notices went out to a few City of Prince Rupert employees That as Mayor Jack Mussallem outlined the shortfalls of operational funding and the impact that it is having on the city's financial picture. Five permanent positions are to be affected, as well as two of a seasonal nature. In addition two vacancies at the fire hall and three at public works will not be filled. CUPE which represents City of Prince Rupert workers was not impressed with the news out of city hall, suggesting that the City is a bit top heavy in the management department.

The Sports section featured a look at the Prince Rupert Rampage action from the weekend as well as a review of the Peewee A squads trip to Kitimat.

(Daily News Archive Articles links for December 14th )

The Northern View
Federal Fisheries Minister visits Prince Rupert, but no meeting scheduled with commercial fishermen-- Gail Shea the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in the Conservative government of Stephen Harper arrived on the north coast to talk to some stakeholders in the fishery, but conspicuous by its absence was the opportunity to talk with local fishermen. A missing part of her itinerary that caught the eye of Joy Thorkelson, UFAWU's Northern representative (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Dangerous Cold Wave Grips Northwest -- The Arctic blast has arrived in the Northwest, sending temperatures plunging from Haida Gwaii to beyond Smithers (see article here)

CBC British Columbia, Daybreak North
Daybreak is on Christmas break, a notice on their website advises that no new items are to be posted to their Daybreak site until January 4, 2010

Daily News, Front page, headline story
‘The Queen Charlottes’ exists no more
By George T. Baker
The Daily News

Monday, December 14, 2009

Haida Gwaii is Haida Gwaii.

Premier Gordon Campbell, along with Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister George Abbott, and the Council of the Haida Nation president Guujaaw signed a protocol agreement Friday that will not only recognize CHN as a partner in resource management on the islands, but also officially revert the name of the North Coast archipelago.

One day after the provincial government signed protocol agreements with several Coastal First Nations, the Premier followed it up with another agreement.

“[This] is a roadmap to lasting reconciliation between the Haida Nation and British Columbia,” announced Campbell at a press conference in Vancouver. “It is a strong example of what we can do when we sit at the table, come into the room with good faith and goodwill and work together and build a better future for all the people we serve.”

The shared decision process will work on two levels, where the Haida Gwaii Management Council will make key high-level strategic decisions through a joint decision-making process that aims to achieve consensus. If consensus is not possible a neutral chairperson will cast the deciding vote. Joint decisions made at this level will focus on establishment, implementation and amendment of land use objectives for forest practices.

What it will do in simple terms is allow the CHN to set the allowable cut for any given year on Haida Gwaii in non-protected areas. Policies and conservation efforts will be developed for ageing heritage sights.

The decisions of the Haida Gwaii Management Council will provide direction to a Solutions Table, who will be responsible for operational matters. The Solutions Table will include representatives from both B.C. and the Haida Nation who will work together to review land and natural resource applications and collect the information necessary to support decision making.

“For the past 100 years we have been fighting these guys and our people are peculiar people who really seem to come to life when there is a common cause and a common enemy. When we are not at battle we seem to fight amongst ourselves. So, I prefer the war time rather than the peace time, for the most part,” said Guujaaw. “Over the past couple of years we have protected everything we are fighting over through agreement and not holding them off.”

Both Campbell and Guujaaw believed this agreement would ultimately change Haida-B.C. governmental relationships in a positive way.

Guujaw added that his perception is changing about government politicians and bureaucrats.
“I used to really believe that people sat in these government offices trying to figure out how to wreck the earth. The evidence was around me that this was all that they could be doing. And certainly there was no doubt that the leading factor in the decisions that were to be made was money,” recalled Guujaaw.
“I think that is really the fundamental change that we are talking about. We have looked way beyond that and towards other values.”

While the protocol agreement will certainly represent a shift in practical change, it’s the recognition of Haida Gwaii as the islands’ proper name that will likely have the largest emotional impact.

In a 2008 meeting during a CHN assembly, Guujaaw announced plans to hand back the name Queen Charlotte Islands to the Crown. It wasn’t understood how that would work and it wasn’t known where either the federal government or the provincial government stood on the issue.

The name Queen Charlotte Islands was particularly bizarre in that the islands were named for a British merchant ship in the 1700s. The ship was named after Queen Charlotte, the wife of British King George III.

But Friday’s announcement erased all intrigues.

It was announced that Campbell would travel to the islands this spring to attend an official ceremony celebrating the recognition of Haida Gwaii as the official name.

“Haida Gwaii was not a name that went away. It was the name that we used for our land. The name of the Queen was quite a wonderful name, too. I never met her but she sounds like a wonderful person,” joked Guujaaw.

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