Thursday, July 26, 2007

BC NDP Leader Carole James supports flawed Tsawwassen Treaty despite removal of farmland for Deltaport container expansion

Sadly, the BC New Democratic Party has given up its historic role of defending farmland in order to support the flawed treaty between the Tsawwassen First Nation and the provincial and federal governments - a treaty that allows the removal of 207 hectares of prime farmland from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Having repeatedly refused to take a position prior to the Tsawwassen First Nation vote yesterday, today NDP Leader Carole James issued the following news release supporting the treaty and promising full NDP MLA support in the Legislature for passage of the treaty.

James supports the treaty despite understanding the intention of the Tsawwassen First Nation to turn the farmland over for container storage expansion at Deltaport at Roberts Bank, a point she even acknowledges in the news release. Any doubt about what will happen to that farmland is dispelled by viewing the Tsawwassen First Nation's agreement with the Vancouver Port authority.

This unfortunate decision by the BC NDP is one that may have grave consequences not only for the future of BC farmland but for the future of the party.

- - Bill Tieleman

Here is today's BC NDP news release:


JAMES SUPPORTS TSAWWASSEN TREATY

NDP Favours Expanding Prince Rupert Port to Save Fraser Valley Farmland


MEDIA RELEASE http://bcndpcaucus.ca


For immediate release
July 26, 2007


VICTORIA – NDP Leader Carole James today congratulated the Tsawwassen First Nation on the ratification of their treaty and said the NDP will support the settlement through the provincial approval process.

“The Tsawwassen people have taken an historic step forward, ratifying a treaty after years of honest and persistent effort at the negotiating table,” said James. “It’s my hope that this treaty marks a new beginning for the Tsawwassen people and for treaty-making in British Columbia – a process stalled for years by Gordon Campbell’s confrontational and divisive referendum.”

James said that all British Columbians benefit from lasting treaty settlements like the Tsawwassen agreement, providing a lasting framework to grow the economy and to achieve equality and justice for First Nations.

“Settling treaties requires compromise,” said James. “The treaty is not perfect for the Tsawwassen. Nor is it perfect for New Democrats and many other British Columbians who want to protect B.C. farmland. But, on balance, we support the treaty.”

James said that in the discussions she and NDP MLAs had with British Columbians there was significant concern about the use of food producing lands to support the Delta Port expansion. The Campbell government plans on tripling container traffic through that port by 2020.

“Gordon Campbell’s rigid commitment to expanding Delta Port puts too much of the remaining Lower Mainland agricultural lands – not just those included in the treaty – at risk. It also threatens the sustainability of Burns Bog,” said James. “It doesn’t have to be that way.”

James said the Province should invest in greater port capacity in Prince Rupert, sharing economic opportunity with rural B.C. and protecting food producing lands in the Fraser River delta.

She also called on the government to approach future negotiations of agricultural reserve land differently.

“I challenge the Premier to commit to the principles expressed in the Agricultural Land Commission Act in future treaty negotiations,” said James. “The Commission is the best place to determine which lands are removed from the ALR.”

-- 30 --

18 comments:

Hack Mike said...

Un
Believable.

Anonymous said...

Good God, the NDP throws away one of their big principals, the ALR. Not to mention their long time policy on use of ALR Lands if transfered in treaty.What other principal or policy will she drop next?
So much for the NDP having principals. I've dropped my support but not membership of over 30 years, and of course 10 years working the tables for modern treaties, and another seven years tracking the events as they go along. A new NDP Leader may have some clues.

My membership would be returned to my MLA Carole James to day except that as often said, you get more done inside than outside. Can't wait for the all candidates meeting of the Victoria Beacon Hill riding. What a sleaze move by James. This mess will be a template for more removals of ALR if a handful of Indians want some more land to rent out to non Indians. Shame on you MLA's for buckling under. I would believe guys like Corky are starting to decide where their next job will be. Maybe Gunter as well.

Wonder who else is counting their years so they can bail as well. The party has managed to screw up a lot of things it seems but this one really takes the cake. If she had any smarts at all she would have , as so many people asked her to do, declare one way or the other but the waffle was in. The party went from two to the present for sure, but let's be honest, the tax payers like to see some sort of a opposition. I doubt the want to see" Let's roll over on command. Wonder if the Greens need some more members. I can count just in my family alone 10 NDP voters that won't be NDP voters after this falling into bed with Gordo and Co. If the land was even going to be used for family housing, which the bands always whines about not having enough of, it is possible that some of us might figure. Oh Hell, the NDP pulled a ranch up north out of the reserve years ago. So what is the difference? Better go look just how much ALR Land is left in the vicinity of some band. 137 votes tops NDP Policy. Way to go Carole, a real leader, but of what? Gordo will have this thing in and out of the house in hours so nothing else can be discussed. After all the opposition is in Unanamous support of this deal.

After a speach or two about the honour of the crown, rights of the minorities, how the Offical Opposition doesn't like the deal, but will vote on it anyway makes me think of the last pay raises. Didn't like it either but took it and a pretty hefty pension as well. Almost forgot the other pay raise for per diem just last week. Heck these folks are so brilliant, let them take some more. I must question myself why did I and a very few others ever bother working to support the treaty process when the bloody opposition caves on the same day a few folks managed to wander over to the band office. I was sort of suprised Gordon or Carole wern't driving them to the polls. Oh well I guess I'll just have to change my voting pattern developed in the late 60's

Thanks for keeping us up to date Bill. I can't see you working for the provincial office real soon. But at least you say what you think.

Wonder how many other NDP long time supporters will jump ship? I shouldn't wonder though as most of the folks have no idea about the process anyway. Is the Rhino party still around? DL

BC Mary said...

.
Bill,

Thanks for explaining (as much as anybody could possibly explain) Carole James' inexplicable decision to support the removal of farmland from the ALR under the pretext of settling the Tsawwassen treaty.

Thanks too, to DL for views developed from long, volunteer service and experience in the treaty process.

British Columbia is flying downhill into a dangerous period with nothing left to guide us, is my view, after reading about Gordo's hysterical "new way of doing politics and business" (See Gary Mason in Tuesday's Globe and Mail).

You can see the bullying template in the new Tsawwassen treaty style. But also in what Gordo says is a desperate race to keep up with Shanghai-sized port facilities.

"We don't need permissions from our federal governments," he tells "a powerful group of business and political leaders from the Pacific Northwest.

"We can't wait for them. We have to act. If we don't, we'll lose." Can't wait for Members of Parliament? Can't wait for the citizens to be informed? Or we'll lose?

Lose?! British Columbia has already lost almost everything worth having, including the run of the rivers.

Once already, today, I've suggested that Gordo is promoting sedition.

But Carole James on behalf of the historic, people-friendly NDP, has gone him one better. Or should that be one worse.

Shame on the lot of them.

.

Budd Campbell said...

"This unfortunate decision by the BC NDP is one that may have grave consequences not only for the future of BC farmland but for the future of the party."

- - Bill Tieleman

I have to ask the obvious question, Bill. Is your concern the issues around farmland and treaties, or is it getting rid of Carole James and using this as one more wedge issue to accomplish that objective?

Bill Tieleman said...

Budd - I am very surprised by your comments about me.

I have been consistent on the Tsawwassen Treaty for a long time - and long before Carole James and the NDP took any position on it, which of course was yesterday, after it passed the vote.

I wrote a column opposing the Treaty on January 16 because of the farmland exclusion from the ALR -

http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/2007/01/tieleman-opposes-tsawwassen-treaty.html

I also wrote a column in November of 2006 support of saving Formosa Nursery farm from being paved over to build the Golden Ears Bridge in Maple Ridge -

http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/2006/11/dont-pave-paradise-farm-in-maple-ridge.html

I debated Chief Kim Baird and Doug McArthur over the Tsawwassen Treaty in April at SFU downtown, along with Richmond Councilor Harold Steves.

So I've taken a strong and consistent position in support of saving farmland and protecting the Agricultural Land Reserve for a long time.

I wish Carole James and the NDP caucus would have done the same - it might have made a difference at Tsawwassen.

Lastly, Carole James leadership is in her hands, not mine, but I will continue to make observations as a political commentator as I see fit.

Budd Campbell said...

Bill,

Save the surprise for someone younger. I know very well you have been an opponent of the treaty and of the exclusion of land from the ALR. I too am opposed to that provision, and if it were up to me, I would have opposed this treaty.

But why not tell your readers in so many words that if James and the NDP had opposed this treaty they would have been excoriated mercilessly by numerous Liberal pundits, including Keith Baldrey, who airily dismisses the entire ALR aspect, and especially by the Straight's Terry Glavin, who fancies himself a spokesperson for Native Liberals who see the need to oppose Tories at any and all costs and encourage Gordon Campbell's "new relationship".

When one has competing absolutes, treaties versus farmland, and an up or down choice must be made because of the way the vote and the process are structured, dismissing the other side's absolutes as clearly less important strikes me as a particularly unsophisticated line of argument, especially for someone like yourself who has been not only a political commentator and organizer, but also an official in the Premier's office.

When I see that kind of ulta-simplified argument being put forward the alarm bells go off, especially when the entire matter is then turned into a personal critique of James rather than a collective critique of the NDP Caucus.

Don't mind me Bill, ... I am just thinking out loud here based on 40 years as a rank and file NDPer who has been wearied beyond the point of despair and disgusted beyond expression, over and over, again and again, by utterly useless leadership quarrels and reassessments, from the Berger-Barrett days to the anti-Skelly/pro-Vickers agitations, to the Harcourt's too soft episodes, followed immediately by the Clark's too tough installments.

I cannot and will not put up with more of this, life is way too short for that kind of junior high school bullshit. If anything will bust the NDP, it's another reassessment of the leadership.

Anonymous said...

Read This article from the rockpile
July 26, 2007 Holeman has a good article on party folk not being on side.
"The NDP's home and native (agricultural) land"
Tom Perry has a opinion and he used to be a NDP Cabinet member.

I doubt that Bill or, you or I would sway many members for or against the present NDP leader. She got the job as not many others seemed to want it, but thats fair game. Its up to her to try to keep it.
I know Bill has been writing on farmland, the ALR and the Tsawassen event for sometime. Until two days ago no expert would even hazard a guess as to which way that small band would jump. If anyone was being devious look straight at our Premier and his so open checkbook( Oops our open checkbook) Previous negotiators stuck to the policy papers developed by the previous government, (a group Bill worked for). Had the policy papers and the Cabinet instructions not been followed during the time of the last government,I'm sure there would be a number of modern treaties in place for years. We can't blame the messanger or a commentator who has background on the issues for taking a position be it Indian related, ALR related or anything else. We are quite fortunate that guys like Bill have the contacts, Bill has been around for a long time, and I really don't think any of us should try to deduct his inner thoughts. He keep us up to date on issues.

The BASI pretrial is one of those issues he has covered so well. I have no great love for Carole James as she tore up a party policy, sort of like Gordon tearing up contracts. Now she is back peddling on the way she will jump with the next treaty attempt.
In my view her puff piece about going along with this one but she wanted sGordon to go back to follwing the ALR regulations on the next one. Sure carole, what band negotiator or laywer will buy that idea. she blew it and by doing so has put a lot of ALR land at risk

Budd, I'm sure you have a position on the NDP Leader as do others but
the way to push her out would be to get to nomination meetings, conventions and do the job. You8 will have support. But the sad thing is that many party members have no clue on such issues and simply want to be liked enough to win another election. DL

Bill Tieleman said...

Okay Budd, have it your way, I'm no longer surprised by your comments - I'm merely disappointed.

First of all, when the BC NDP starts making decisions to win favourable media comments rather than doing the right thing, the party is over.

And if the NDP had a consistent, principled position it need not fear commentator criticism. Since you mentioned my past role as Communications Director for Glen Clark in 1996 you may also remember that when we won that upset election victory every single newspaper in British Columbia endorsed Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals - every one.

As to unsophisticated arguments, sorry that's what you're going to get here. The NDP when in government offered the Tsawwassen First Nation a treaty that did not include removing the ALR lands. That was a fair offer and gave the TFN the same rights as any other landowner with ALR land - you can apply to remove it and the Agricultural Land Commission will decide.

Gordon Campbell wanted to avoid the ALR to get the Deltaport expansion through quickly. He used the TFN to get that.

If the BC NDP want to take the position in to the next election that First Nations can use any land ceded to them in treaties in any way they choose it will be a disaster.

As to a personal critique of Carole James versus criticizing the whole NDP caucus, you should know that I have posed very tough questions on Shaw Cable's Voice of BC to several NDP MLAs, to their consternation.

I am disappointed in the whole caucus on this decision, not just Carole, but she is the leader and she has to take more responsibility for caucus positions than other MLAs.

I speak my mind on the BC NDP even as I remain a supporter and will continue to do so.

Budd Campbell said...

"First of all, when the BC NDP starts making decisions to win favourable media comments rather than doing the right thing, the party is over."

Bill, I think you know very well that wasn't my point at all. I said you should be frank with your readers and discuss with them all the political costs of opposing the Tsawwassen Treaty, especially including the stance likely to be taken by particular, supposedly left-leaning pundits such as Baldrey and Glavin.

" ... The NDP when in government offered the Tsawwassen First Nation a treaty that did not include removing the ALR lands. That was a fair offer and gave the TFN the same rights as any other landowner with ALR land - you can apply to remove it and the Agricultural Land Commission will decide.

Gordon Campbell wanted to avoid the ALR to get the Deltaport expansion through quickly. He used the TFN to get that."

I agree completely. See my comments on Publiceyeonline.

If the BC NDP want to take the position in to the next election that First Nations can use any land ceded to them in treaties in any way they choose it will be a disaster.

This is not at all what is at stake, and here Bill I assume you're being a bit disengenous for the sake of argument. This is one particular Treaty, not all treaties in general. The MLAs of all parties must vote yes or no, period.

The NDP can easily argue that it supported this treaty on balance, but did not like the ALR exclusions, and as government would never sign such a treaty with any other Indian band or nation in future. What's wrong with that approach?

I am disappointed in the whole caucus on this decision, not just Carole, ...

That's hardly the overall impression that comes through. Perhaps I have been reading too quickly and not watching enough of you on TV, but from these columns I get the distinct impression that your focus is on Carole James. I believe something similar came up over the MLA pay raise.

Anonymous said...

Gosh Budd, I don't think that the NDP can enter an election using the idea that you mention. This is just one treaty not all of them. People will love the NDP as they wil oppose any other with ALR attached.

First off. Bill has kept the information at a fairly low level as most folks havn't a clue as to what the treaty is actually about.

Budd, I spent a hell of a lot of time at and around negotiating tables, information meetings, RAC meetings. At all times we got to see what the policies were and what the three parties were working toward. My gosh they bent over backwards to pass out polkicy papers records of decisions and such. Sure this is just one treaty, but had you been in the room at any table, as soon as the Nisga'a and the Yukon treaties came into play, everyone had a copy, even me. A treaty is supposedly not a template but in real life if one group get something every other group will bargain for the same, or better.

As for attacks on the NDP Leader, go read other folks besides Bill.

One suggested she put a foot in it, The Globe and mail too, were no more supportive of her position than anyone else. This is a precedence. The long established NDP policy is gone. The treaty paper policy is gone. The leader carries the can and it's a tough world but that the fact. The NDP has lost face, and will no doubt lose some seats next time around. In the meantime Gordo is laughing all the way to the next election.

If you wish I can debate treaty policies and strategies, backgrounders, at any time. I must have picked up something in 10 years representing people and a few more simply keeping up and no longer representing people. Assorted sections or whatever. Up to you. Did I ever see you at any of the treaty events, open houses ,public meetings? I was easy to see, the only non paid person in the room. DL

Anonymous said...

It seems Bill isn't the only one with comments about the provicnal NDP Leader. Try this editorial from the Vancouver sun this morning. DL

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/editorial/story.html?id=6d403987-b23c-4a2b-9520-2eafc2454e66

Budd Campbell said...

One suggested she put a foot in it, The Globe and mail too, were no more supportive of her position than anyone else. This is a precedence. The long established NDP policy is gone. The treaty paper policy is gone. The leader carries the can and it's a tough world but that the fact.

If this kind of inarticulate muttering is the best that ambitious NDP backbenchers can muster, I don't think Carole James has too much to fear.

The real worry that many of the NDP "professionals" have is not the Carole James might loose the next election. On the contrary, they're deathly afraid she might win it and not be under their control.

Anonymous said...

Budd, I really doubt that the NDP insiders or professionals worry that James might win a election. With her preformance on this issue alone she has been shown not to follow policies set by the rank and file of the party , which I sort of think you might belong. If she claims to make decisions by discussing every thing as the caucus table till they get a position to run with, why then do we see caucus members letting it be known that she is breaking party policy. Leaders come and go so folks can simply sit on their hands and watch another electio go to the other party. I believe some folks worked long and hard to win more seats last time around, but she has squandered a lot of support by her rather silly comments. Gordon campbell is so sure of himself that he even picked up his guitar for a adoring audience. Mind you they clapped because he was bringing money, our money.dl

Budd Campbell said...

With her preformance on this issue alone she has been shown not to follow policies set by the rank and file of the party , which I sort of think you might belong. If she claims to make decisions by discussing every thing as the caucus table till they get a position to run with, why then do we see caucus members letting it be known that she is breaking party policy.

Both assertions are clearly false.

But, they are totally typical play pieces in any in-house BC NDP leadership reassessment drive. It's designed to appeal to NDP members who have been cowed and stupidized over the years and trained to respond like dogs or seals to certain sounds and signals. Please don't waste your time with me.

Anonymous said...

I sure disgaree with what Budd is saying but what the heck in a democratic system he can be as far off base as he wants.James did brek party policies, plain and simple. She has now supported a Final Agreement which some of her caucus are not in favour of, and of course the polciies set by the NDP in treaty work went out the window as well. Will she stay as leader? how would we know since niehter of us seem to be party supporters, at least not now. I am saddened that things that were simply not going to happen did and she bought into it. dl

Budd Campbell said...

James did brek party policies, plain and simple.

I would just like to point out that this is a stock, standard line in any exercise in the BC NDP that is designed to oust a Leader. It's used to persuade the membership that the current leader is betraying basic social democratic values, and it implicitly assumes that "party policy" is something fixed, like religious doctrine.

The other basic gambit is for MLAs to take up contrary positions that place the party in an awkward position and cause its poll standings to slip. When those reported poll standings come out, the blame is placed on the Leader, when in fact she was simply trying to work with a group of people who just want her out. The key feature of this strategy is the incredibly willingness of the players to drive down the party's overall standings in order to get the internal re-arrangement they are seeking.

Most party supporters would never suspect that their MLA would be willing to engage in such dangerous, fratricidal behaviour. Shurely they must realize that if the entire ship goes down, they'll be among the victims. Sadly, that kind of adult discipline and awareness of one's own vulnerability is often lacking among the more traditional BC provincial political players.

Anonymous said...

Budd Campbell said...
James did break party policies, plain and simple.

I would just like to point out that this is a stock, standard line in any exercise in the BC NDP that is designed to oust a Leader.
---------------
Gosh Budd for someone who claims not to be a party member you sure have great knowledge of the internal workings of that party. Give it a rest. James tripped up, one more time and will eventually have to answer for doing what she did. Maybe sooner than expected, maybe not. But of course a person with your great understanding of the system you will be the first to tell us average folks when to expect a purge attempt. DL

Dori said...

Keep up the good work.