Canada, Lake Babine Nation and British Columbia join together on road to long-term reconciliation

News release

December 14, 2018 - Vancouver, B.C. - Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

The Government of Canada has joined Lake Babine Nation and the Government of British Columbia in collaboratively working towards a long-term reconciliation agreement. The agreement would implement Lake Babine Nation’s title and rights, and support economic and community benefits for the people of Lake Babine Nation and the surrounding region.

Gordon Alec, Chief of Lake Babine Nation, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and the Honourable Scott Fraser, British Columbia’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, have signed the Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding to Guide Rights Implementation and Reconciliation Negotiations.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) brings Canada into advanced discussions between British Columbia and Lake Babine Nation. It frames negotiations for a long-term agreement to progressively implement Lake Babine Nation’s inherent title and rights including the inherent right to self-government, as well as, promote social and community well-being, and regional economic growth.

That long-term agreement, called the Foundation Agreement, would start transforming the Crown-Lake Babine Nation relationship by setting out goals the parties would implement as they are completed, over a period of up to 25 years.

Key topic areas under negotiation are lands, land and natural resource decision-making, forestry, Lake Babine Nation governance, child and family well-being, education and language, and justice.

Lake Babine Nation, and the provincial and federal governments have expressed a shared interest in working together, building strong and resilient government-to-government relationships, and ensuring their work aligns with the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and case law, including the Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal title decision.

Quotes

“First Nations have been clear – they want transformative change now. Together with Lake Babine, we are charting an innovative path forward that supports their community’s vision of greater self-determination and a sustainable, self-reliant community by enabling the implementation of self-government agreements as they are reached.” 

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“The Government of Canada is an essential partner in our ongoing collaboration with Lake Babine Nation to reconcile title and rights, advance self-government and support economic prosperity for the people of Lake Babine. With Lake Babine and all Indigenous nations across B.C., the Province is taking a different, partnership-based approach to how we design reconciliation agreements and treaties – an approach grounded in the recognition that there are many pathways to reconciliation that support self-determination and inherent rights.”

The Honourable Scott Fraser
Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

“This negotiation is about how to implement Lake Babine’s inherent rights in true partnership with the Crown. My Nation is pleased to finally be negotiating towards an agreement with both B.C. and Canada that would honour our rights and title, help us heal from the legacies of colonialism, and allow us to take a leadership role in growing the regional economy. This work is urgent and of the highest priority for Lake Babine.”

Gordon Alec,
Chief of Lake Babine Nation

Quick facts

  • In 2016, Lake Babine Nation and the Government of British Columbia agreed to a new approach to reconciliation based on a shared vision of full partnership and joint accountability.

  • The shared vision is to progressively implement Lake Babine Nation’s Aboriginal rights and title, promote social and community wellbeing, support regional economic growth, and develop a strong government-to-government relationship.

  • In March 2017, British Columbia and Lake Babine Nation signed the interim Foundation Pathway Agreement that established the topics and steps to negotiate an agreement.

  • The Tripartite MOU joins Canada to those ongoing negotiations.

  • Lake Babine Nation is the third largest First Nation in British Columbia with a total registered membership of approximately 2,438. The Nation’s main administrative office is located in Burns Lake, approximately 230 kilometres west of Prince George, and includes communities of Fort Babine, Old Fort, Tachet, Donald’s Landing/Pinkut.

Associated links

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Matthew Dillon-Leitch
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
819-997-0002

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
819-934-2302
RCAANC.media.CIRNAC@canada.ca

Edward Hill
Media Relations
Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
250-356-5831

Chief Gordon Alec
Lake Babine Nation
250-692-0422


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