First Nations negotiator calls for 'real fiscal relations'

SARAH MACMILLAN Daily News Intern / Kamloops Daily News
February 1, 2013 01:00 AM

First Nations in B.C. want "real fiscal relations" - not simple revenue sharing, an aboriginal negotiator told a crowd Friday.

"I want serious fiscal relations, I want real fiscal relations," said Don Ryan, a negotiator with the Stk'emlupsemc and Sexqeltkemc.

Ryan's speech at the First Nation's forum at the Coast Hotel followed keynote speaker Donna Bartlett, MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin region who spoke on behalf of Minister Ida Chong, B.C.'s Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. Bartlett's speech touched on the idea of revenue sharing.

But Ryan said revenue sharing doesn't properly consider the stages of projects as they are being developed.

"We're not interested in revenue sharing because revenue sharing is limited," said Ryan, using the proposed Ajax Mine as an example.

"You're not going to see revenues on the mine until it's in operation. We need to sort out what the resources are in the pre-visibility stage," he said. "It's going to cost millions and millions of dollars for people to participate in these projects."

Ryan also spoke of how each First Nation should have one "portal of interaction" between the band and the Crown. He sees five tiers of interaction now, which include interactions between bands and various levels of government.

"Sometimes its difficult to go though that model since many (bands) don't have a centralized system," said Ryan, suggesting one portal would create a better process.

Ryan also advocated for uniformity in kinds of land claims and better land-use planning for First Nations territories.

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