UBCM Discusses Land Claims Policy with Federal Representatives

On Friday, October 24, 2014, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) Ministerial Special Representative Douglas Eyford met with representatives from UBCM’s Executive and staff to discuss Canada’s interim Comprehensive Land Claims Policy, the document that guides the federal government in its negotiation of treaties or comprehensive land claims.

The meeting, which also included representatives from Metro Vancouver’s Aboriginal Relations Committee and the federal Department of Justice, provided UBCM with an opportunity to present feedback on the interim policy. Councillor Murry Krause, First Nations Relations Committee Chair, presented UBCM’s submission, which is designed to be a starting point for further discussion, and is reflective of UBCM policy, member feedback and internal analysis. After all parties had presented their submissions, the meeting concluded with a discussion around the submissions, the role of local governments in the land claims process, and next steps in the process to renew the Comprehensive Land Claims Policy.

The Ministerial Special Representative was receptive to local government concerns, including the categorization of local governments as ‘third-parties’ in the interim document, to which he responded, “municipalities should be treated differently from other third party groups”. The categorization of local governments was an issue brought forward by both UBCM and Metro Vancouver in their submissions.

In July 2014, Minister Bernard Valcourt announced Douglas Eyford, a former treaty negotiator, would be appointed AANDC’s Ministerial Special Representative in the process to advance treaty negotiations and reconciliation. The first step in this process has been to solicit feedback from negotiating partners, stakeholders and other interested parties. The renewed policy will replace the current Comprehensive Land Claims Policy, published in 1986.

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