POLITICS

B.C. treaty commission reaches 20-year anniversary, signs 2 deals, dozen more close

10/10/2012 03:29 EDT | Updated 12/10/2012 05:12 EST
VICTORIA - British Columbia's chief treaty commissioner says 13 new land-claim agreements are close to being signed in what has become a revived treaty-making process between First Nations and the federal and provincial governments.

Chief Commissioner Sophie Pierre says the B.C. treaty process has reached its 20-year anniversary on a high note after a particularly gloomy period that threatened the survival of treaty negotiating.

Last year, Pierre said it was becoming plainly obvious that treaty negotiators — especially the federal government — were not interested in making bold moves and it was time to consider shutting down the entire process.

Pierre says she's had a change of heart over the past year as the federal and provincial governments and First Nations re-examined their commitments to negotiating treaties.

But Pierre candidly admits the BC Treaty Commission could be around for another 20 years even though that's not her wish.

Since 1992, just two final treaties have been negotiated with the Tsawwassen First Nation in suburban Vancouver and the Maa-nulth First Nations on Vancouver Island.