Friday, July 27, 2007

BC Green Party Leadership candidate Ben West calls Tsawwassen Treaty a "terrible model" for settlement, disagrees with Green Party, Interim Leader

BC Green Party leadership candidate Ben West is calling the treaty between the Tsawwassen First Nation and the provincial and federal governments a "terrible model" and is disagreeing with the position taken by both the Green Party and Interim Leader Christopher Ian Bennett.

In a news release issued this afternoon West says both the BC Liberal Party and the opposition BC NDP are "missing in action" on the importance of preserving farmland.

But West does not comment directly on a BC Green Party news release sent today that congratulates everyone involved with the Tsawwassen treaty or comments by Bennett that he applauds the treaty.

Here is the text of West's news release:

Ben West – Leadership Candidate

For Immediate Release: July 27th, 2007

Poverty vs. Pavement: Tsawwassen Treaty A Terrible Model For Future Treaty Process BC Government Taking Advantage of Native Desperation to Advance Unsustainable Development

VANCOUVER – Green Party of BC leadership candidate, Ben West, says the recent Tsawwassen treaty is deeply flawed, and a terrible model for the future of BC's treaty process.

He says a richer offer that truly respects the Tsawwassen people, BC farmland and the environment, is necessary. West says the BC Liberals are taking advantage of legitimate native desperation for a better future, to advance unsustainable developments like the Gateway project.

“Gordon Campbell has forced British Columbians into the perceived position of being either pro-farmland or anti-native, and that's not right and it's not leadership” said West. “The government is taking advantage of legitimate Native desperation for a better future, to advance unsustainable projects like the Delta Port expansion - something that's not supported by local communities.”

West takes issue with the terms of the treaty deal, specifically the inclusion of 207 hectares of prime ALR farmland that will instantly revert to the Vancouver Port Authority in exchange for financial compensation to the Tsawwassen people, before being paved to make way for the province's planned Delta Port expansion.

“The Tsawwassen people could have been properly compensated without taking prime farmland out of the ALR, paving it, and then paying them for it,” said West. “Members of the legislature need to come back to the table with a richer offer that truly respects, and properly compensates the Tsawwassen people; an offer that ultimately secures a more sustainable future for the province and that offers a fair and sustainable model for the future of BC's treaty process.”

West points out that if the treaty is approved in the provincial legislature, it will represent a huge blow to the sustainability and food security of British Columbia at a time when food and climate change experts are stressing the importance of local food production.

“The opposition NDP and the BC Liberal party itself are missing in action at a crucial time in the future of the province. How can we pretend to have a real strategy for the climate crisis when we're paving over what little farmland we have left for the sake of an unsustainable development project?”


Anonymous said...

Ben West must have been reading some of the articles on issues around this soon to be treaties. Good for him. The leader of the Opposition either did not get up to speed, even though folks kept telling her it was against party policy and the treaty policy papers,that were developed under a previous NDP government, or she wants desperatly for a small band to support her party. Drop policy to try to drag support is not a good way to get ahead. Sure we all want bands to get treaties, we all need certainty, but just as sure we expect the treaty when done to include the same safeguards in the form of laws and past practices, as everyone else.

Mr. West might be trolling for votes as well with the upset NDP members. He might well get a number of them. Prior to this person making a committment to him or any other candidate, including my present MLA, Ms. James, I would certainly ask some pointed questions in and around the treaty business. But the fellow is quite correct, this Tsawassen deal looks more like the work of a used car salesmen that laws to protect the minority. We are all here to stay, we were mostly all born here and we are all Canadians and yes we should all vote using our head, not for the issue of the minute. DL

Anonymous said...

Ben West has my vote. Finally, someone who seems to have some integrity!