It is beyond time for the federal government to keep its promise to improve relations with First Nations in our country—especially when it comes to the issue of aboriginal fishing rights.
It is shameful that seven years after the BC Supreme Court ruled that Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations have the right to harvest and sell all fish species found in their territory, that they are still forced to negotiate those rights.
In the words of Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council vice-president Ken Watts, the fishers should be on the water fishing, and not having to repeatedly go to court to assert the rights that were legally awarded to them in 2009.
They have appealed federally to have this matter settled once and for all, and have had to wait for a change in government to get anywhere.
People were hopeful when newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said relations with First Nations are of utmost importance, but he and his government have yet to put any substance behind their words.
The nations have asked the federal government to appoint a senior representative with a mandate to negotiate fishing plans.
It’s a small gesture that would go a long way toward healing this rift—provided something is accomplished.