Thursday, March 31, 2016
Designed to Fail
Sustainable Water Act drowns Native rights
Ian Stephen, WaterWealth Project
aterWealth supports First Nations' assertion of their inherent rights and title. The moral and legal imperative to work collaboratively with First Nations is increasingly recognized by businesses operating in Canada, local governments — such as Vancouver's acknowledgement that the city is on unceded Aboriginal territory — and Canadian courts.
It is regrettable that the Clark government lags behind and chose to miss an opportunity to advance reconciliation of the Crown/First Nations relationship in the update of BC water law to the Water Sustainability Act.
Instead, the province chose a path of conflict by claiming that right to water is vested exclusively in the Crown.
This denial of Indigenous interests was exacerbated when the Water Sustainability Act came into effect February 29 with a regulation exempting the estimated 20,000 existing non-domestic groundwater users from environmental flow considerations as their new 30-year water licences are handed out over the next three years.
This exemption conflicts with the federal jurisdiction over fish and, if left uncorrected, is sure to result in impacts on First Nations fishing rights and costly civil and legal processes to deal with over-allocation of water supplies.
Connect with The Waterwealth Project online.
Nadleh Whut'en and Stellat'en Hereditary Leadership Declare First Indigenous Water Management Regime in B.C.
Media are invited to attend a press conference in Vancouver where, as an expression of their inherent governance rights, the Yinka Dene'uza'hn from Nadleh Whut'en and Stellat'en will assert their own water management laws. The new laws establish much higher standards than the current provincial standards regarding the regulation of the rivers, lakes, streams and creeks throughout the whole of their territories in north central British Columbia.
A public invitation will be extended to Premier Christy Clark and the Province of British Columbia to collaborate with Yinka Dene'uza'hn on the full implementation of their laws.
Hereditary, elected leadership representatives and invited witnesses will be signing the Yinka Dene'uza'hn Water Declaration.
WHEN: Press Conference
Union of BC Indian
WHO: Nadleh Whut'en and Stellat'en
Hereditary leadership in full regalia
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