Treaty Vote Postponed
Prince George, B.C. – The Lheidli T’enneh vote on the treaty proposal that was presented a decade ago, will not be going forward as initially planned.“We just aren’t ready” says Lheidli T’enneh Chief Dominic Frederick. “We need the majority of our people to understand what the treaty is and understand it.”
The Lheidli T’enneh had announced in January that they would be holding a second vote on the same treaty package that was rejected by a small margin in April of 2007.
In the months leading up to what was supposed to be the start of balloting tomorrow, the Lheidli Tenneh have been providing information to its membership on what the Treaty is, and isn’t.
Chief Frederick advised the Lheidli T’enneh of the postponement of this second vote in the following notice:
“The Lheidli T’enneh Ratification Committee (the Committee) has decided to postpone the ratification vote for the Lheidli T’enneh Final Agreement and Constitution, presently scheduled for October 2016, to ensure the membership of Lheidli T’enneh has adequate time to learn about the treaty and to make a good informed decision.
The Committee will determine a new vote date in accordance with the Final Agreement once it is in receipt of information from the Parties that will allow it to conduct a vote in accordance with the Committee’s obligations.”
The Parties referred to are the Provincial and Federal Governments. B.C.’s Minister of Aboriginal relations, John Rustad says the Province has provided written support for the postponed vote, “If additional time is what’s required to make that work so that people can have the best information when they go to vote, that’s probably not a bad thing.”
So while the Province has supported this delay, there has not yet been word from the Federal Government. The Federal Government must grant an extension ( this would be the second extension if granted) to the time limit allowed for that second ballot.
The voting was supposed to start in Vancouver on Friday, with subsequent ballots conducted next week in Prince Rupert, then at the Lheidli T’enneh Administration office in Shelley, and wrapping up at the Coast Inn of the North on the 22nd.
There is no confirmed date for the second vote.
- self governance
- land ownership, (4330 hectares) which includes the two Reserves and properties in Prince George
- access to natural resources on Lheidli T’enneh lands
- stable funding, with $18 million in a cash settlement a further $12 million to implement the agreement and annual payments of $1.8 million for programs and services
- hunting and fishing rights are retained