An Urgent Solution Needed

An Urgent Solution Needed

April 18, 2018

Before Canada was a country a relationship was established with the Crown of England and Indigenous Peoples in Nation-to-Nation understandings. Treaties formalized these understandings creating allies for certainty, settlement, war and trade across the country as it expanded. Throughout most of British Columbia treaties were not signed, including with the Musqueam. In 1976, Musqueam issued a Declaration that Musqueam lands, waters and resources were never given up, extinguished or signed away – these Musqueam rights and title still exist today.

In October 2017, Musqueam signed an agreement with Canada called the Framework for the Federal Recognition and Implementation of Musqueam Rights and Title; four federal Ministers signed this agreement. This Framework sets out a process for reaching agreement on reconciling Musqueam and Federal Crown titles, co-management of marine environment and fisheries (including Sparrow rights), and is based upon the full recognition and implementation of Musqueam rights, title, and inherent jurisdiction; it is an example of the commitment of reconciliation set out by the Prime Minister.

Some say we are entering a Constitutional crisis regarding the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal, which includes shipping traffic in Musqueam and Coast Salish territory. The Canadian Constitution is in the spotlight, especially jurisdictional authorities: Section 35 outlines acknowledgement and protections of First Nations rights; Sections 91 and 92 clarify the federal and provincial jurisdictions and authorities. First Nations, municipalities and the general public are now at odds with each other with a potential of unprecedented civil unrest. All of these rights must be weighed and considered in the coming weeks.

Musqueam agrees with the recent statement made by our relative, Sto:lo First Nation Chief Ernie Crey: “Not all First Nations oppose the Kinder Morgan proposed pipeline.” According to Canada, 33 First Nations in British Columbia and 10 First Nations in Alberta have mutual benefit agreements with Kinder Morgan. If these numbers are correct the vast majority of directly impacted First Nations have agreements with the company. Musqueam knows the serious risks of increased oil transport via rail if the pipeline project is cancelled. While Musqueam is not one of those First Nations who have negotiated agreements we are preparing a list of conditions and voicing our concerns. Musqueam maintains the right to speak on behalf of our territory and respects the views of other First Nations who are impacted by this proposal. We have chosen the path of negotiations through engaging with government.
Musqueam understands this perilous situation and we seek a reasonable solution. We support the Prime Minister’s efforts to find a positive resolution, which would be in the vital strategic interest of Canada: including the Musqueam First Nation.

Chief Wayne Sparrow
Ph: (604)652-2599