Thursday, July 19, 2007

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip blasts BC government as "unethical" over sell job for vote on Tsawwassen First Nation treaty

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column
Tuesday July 17, 2007

B.C. desperate in Tsawwassen vote


In the old days you might have used a Hudson's Bay blanket, some musket shot, a new suit for the chief and a bit of rum. Not much has changed. Today's Indian agents simply have newer trinkets and nicer suits but they are still up to their old tricks.

- Bertha Williams, Tsawwassen First Nation treaty opponent

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip is condemning as "unethical, inappropriate and totally unacceptable" B.C. Liberal government efforts to convince Tsawwassen First Nation members to vote yes in a July 25 treaty referendum.

Phillip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, was reacting to news that the province is sending 40 Tsawwassen members on a trip and promising $15,000 cash for some elders if the treaty passes.

"They're interfering with the vote. I think it's inappropriate, unethical and totally unacceptable what the government is doing," Phillip told 24 hours in an exclusive interview. "It's to buy their yes votes."

Phillip says the government is desperate because if the vote fails, the $1-billion treaty process is dead. To date not a single treaty has been reached.

Aboriginal Relations Minister Mike de Jong confirmed that 40 Tsawwassen members will fly to the Nass Valley to discuss the existing Nisga'a Treaty with Nisga'a members and that about 20 elders will get an immediate $15,000 each if the treaty passes.

B.C. is spending $400,000 on communications to sell the treaty, including hiring Counterpoint Communications' Bruce Rozenhart for ratification work.

Phillip, whose UBCIC represents 30 to 40 per cent of B.C. first nations who reject negotiating treaties, said recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions have "completely eclipsed the treaty process" which extinguishes aboriginal rights and title for "woefully inadequate land and cash."

And earlier this year Prince George's Lheidli T'enneh First Nation voted to reject a $76-million treaty.

In addition, the Huu-ay-aht First Nation on Vancouver Island has a treaty vote on July 28. Huu-ay-aht members are also being flown to Nisga'a territory.

That's why the B.C. and federal governments are pulling out all the stops to win the Tsawwassen vote, Phillip said.

"The government is absolutely desperate to salvage this process, to see this treaty pass," he said.
Phillip says per capita payments to individual Tsawwassen members, including several who live in the United States, are wrong because they don't give the community the financial resources needed for a sustainable economy.

"The Tsawwassen are going outside the community to band members in the U.S. - they have no interest in community or programs there. They're being co-opted to vote yes for a cash payment," he said.

The Tsawwassen treaty is already controversial because it will strip 207 hectares of farmland from the Agricultural Land Reserve to expand the Roberts Bank port terminal's container shipping.

Now it's becoming even more divisive.


BC Mary said...


Unethical? I'll say.

In fact, isn't it illegal to enter into an election with cash offers to buy a certain kind of votes? Of course it is.

So how does the current B.C. government get away with this in broad daylight?

And what can the rest of us do?


Anonymous said...

Dr. Rudy Ryser likes to say, and he has said it to the Tsawassen band before, that usually the most virulent anti-native activists are natives in the community itself.

Does the minister of aboriginal affairs still get reports from RCMP informants placed into aboriginal communities?

Roberts Bank is one huge sinkhole of colonial corruption.

What can we do? How about we pay Chief of Staff Martyn Brown what he was getting when he was an anti-native organizer for BC FIRE to fight this treaty vote.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill
Folks should be smart enough to see the communications money spent by the previous government explaining to the tax payars why the Nigsa'a treaty is to all of our benefit. That was done after the band had done their voting first. as is required as the band had no legal government to speak for them at the time
One of the excuses for the referendum was Gordon wanted the peoples opinion. He was a elected legislator and as such had the authority to speak for the province.He was on that occasion trying to sway support awqy from the Nisga'a Treaty.

With this deal cooked up by Gordon he is trying to buy support before the vote by the Tsawassen band has happened.And surpirse surprise he is way on side. I seldom agree with most of what Chief Stewart has to say on much of anything but I sure agree with him this time. It's sleazy, underhand, and an indication that Gordo wants a yes vote. And in his view Indian support can be easily bought.
He really doesn't care that much about the band but in my view is helping out a developer of the coal port.and while doing so can show us, next election down the road, how he got a treaty under the BC Treaty system. My God what a salesman. BC Mary, 10:14 . asks what the rest of us can do? Un-elect him.Dl

Anonymous said...

----- Original Message -----
From: Steve D
Sent: Friday, July 13, 2007 4:35 PM
Subject: Fw: Until recently i could not figure out why the BC treaty process was not working

Until recently i could not figure out why the treaty process was not working ie: i recently discovered that it was doomed from the out-set . The process says " we give u some cash , we give you some property & you extinguish your First Nations status "

steve dockeray

milner bc


Gary E said...

I' am so inclined to agree with BC Mary here. Do we not already have 3 gov.t officials heading for trial on bribery charges? This is the same thing.
Man, these guys are really sickening.

Anonymous said...

Steve said:Until recently i could not figure out why the treaty process was not working ie: i recently discovered that it was doomed from the out-set.
This process if handled, using the policies set up at the beginning can work. Sure there is money involved and some land. But a lot of other issues as well. So lets not try to simnplify it too much.

Lets not forget that folks talk about a bundle of rights. But nobody has ever defined just what those right are. Anyone can say they own x numbers of miles of property but prove it.

The Supreme Court of Canada has been up front when they said" To get title you have to prove it. Two ways are negotiating and the other is in courts. The courts went on to suggest the best way to get those results of actually defining which rights from the bundle actually are, is best done by negotiations.

Yes it's been slow and painful. But everyone started from zero. A lot of bands are close, some have voted for or against progress along the way. The issue of overlaps alone is a real issue as traditional lands the bands claim s exceeds all the provinces land mass, at over 115 percent. Try that one in court and somebody is going to lose. The bands knew the criteria when they started this long and expensive trip, but the issue right now, is the province rushing in to get a deal, any deal . A lot of folks have expectations that exceed any possibility of those expectations happening. Business has been saying for years they would like treaties as a lot of easemens were never brought in properly. Bands got shafted and have every right to be upset. It can be worked out in negotiations. People want ceraintly, accountability. I do recall a very senior negotiator, for the province who was the Deputy Minister, telling us who listened that some deals could be agreed on in about a year.Interim agreements have been around for years. Bring in the lawyers then for the script writing and by Gosh, it would be done. He never mentioned dropping some money or trips to anyone . There are a lot of steps in treaty making. A Band woud be really stupid to rush in and sign an agreement without a lot of care. Slipping a few dollars around is simple not a prudent way to go. And darn well insulting to the folks working so hard to resolve all those issues. Reminds me of a used car salesman." A deal for you today". The treaties are not a short term loan so careful is the word of choice. It's got to be a win win win event. If I recall there was around 30 policy papers in the treaty process, from BC alone. They went away as the present government came into power. For those who figure the system is broken, how about you come up with some new ideas. It isn't going to go away. DL

Woman with courage said...

As a Nisga'a member who witnessed the show and tell when New Aiyansh hosted the first day with the two Bands who came up to visit, my heart was sickened to see them all dancing and singing. The Nisga'a Treaty is like the Mafia government and who is the Godfather? I have written several letters and gaining outside support to expose the crooks and the corrupt leaders in office. For a glimpse of what I am talking about, go to The BC Government should ask for a recall and Mike de Jong should know by now that he could not fool us all. All they ever wanted was our land with rich resources and to take away our Aboriginal title. They are making a mockery out of Canada and democracy. I truly hope that the Treaty does not pass and that the voters ask for their resignations.

Anonymous said...


FROM: Sylvia Jessie Stephens

DATE: July 12, 2007


Since you are going to promote the modern day Nisga’a Treaty, go a step further to show the world the financial and audited statements for the various Village Governments, Corporations, Development Groups and just how much we owe as a Nation.

Why do you not display the other three Nisga’a Communities? What are you so afraid of? Are you afraid to show these people the truth? I believe so as there is 80% unemployment in other communities while one of the Forestry companies is setting up a white man’s logging camp on the outskirts of our village of Laxgalts’ap.

Do the right thing and involve all the other Nisga’a communities and even if you don’t we have a web site that displays all of the corruption that we live with and go to

This memo will be sent to all email contacts around the country and this is just to show them that the Nisga’a Treaty is not like you try to portray it. Our nation needs to take back control over affairs and take responsibility for reshaping our future so that we can lead to economic successes as other prospering nations throughout Canada. We have a unique lifestyle and culture and a new approach to economic development and governance will lead to greater nation building measures so that we can each enjoy our modern day Treaty to pass on to future generations to come.

Conclusion: One Indigenous professor quoted: “The Band Councils are extensions of Canadian authority and law. The fact that Canada tolerates a situation where some First Nation leaders are earning more than the Prime Minister while their people live in Third World conditions is a telling sign, he said, because it shows that Canada is willing to pay a lot to those who co-opera

Anonymous said...

From: barb zvatora
To: ; ; NLG CEO ; Edmond Wright
Cc: ; Allegations and Complaints ; Arlene ; Auditor General Canada ; Auditor General of B.C. ; ; Tina Bolton ; Canada TIU ; NDP Leader Carole James ; ; ; ; ; Danielle ; ; Rose Doolan ; ; Editor ; Editor ; ; ; ; c/o H Nyce Jr. Gitwinksihlkw Chief & Council ; ; BC Finance Minister Hon. Carole Taylor ; Premier Hon. Gordon Campbell ; Hon. Irwin Cotler ; Minister of Finance Hon. James Flaherty ; Hon. Pat Carney ; Hon. Stephane Dion ; Prime Minister Hon. Stephen Harper ; Ministry of Attorney General Honourable Wally Oppal ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; NDP MP Skeena-Bulkley Valley Nathan Cullen ; ; ; Office of the HIgh Commissioner for Human Rights ; ; ; ; ; Sylvia Stephens ; stikakwh ; ; Kathy Wesley-Scott ; ;
Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2007 4:27 PM
Subject: Transfer funds theft continue as the NLG Executive pretend everything is okay

funds for the Nisga'a nation continues? The latest being alleged thefts from the Nisga'a Valley Health. Since being in self government two senior Nisga'a Valley Health officers have been released and now the firing of an accounting clerk with no official exWhen will you deal with our questions as the thefts of tax payers' transfer planation given to the Nisga'a Nation Citizens who continue to suffer the inadequate medical help other Canadians enjoy and you set up two tiers of medical benefits - one for yourselves and one for the Nisga'a commoner.

BC Mary said...

Dang, this is really annoying: buying votes, I mean.

Anybody who paid, or offered payment, for a "Yes" vote in the Tsawwassen Treaty should be charged.

Whoever has the proof should contact the R.C.M.P., fast. FAST. Before the Treaty vote on July 25.

"Unethical" ain't the half of it.


macadavy said...

Talk about selling one's birthright for a mess of potage - Bertha Williams really said it all!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous & his\her comment about my comment ie: Steve said:Until recently i could not figure out why the treaty process was not working ie: i recently discovered that it was doomed from the out-set.

Anonymous : go take a look at the definition of genocide in the Dictionary & tell me why people who support a Homeland for Israel , deny first nations the same rights they want for the Jewish People ? ie: Main Entry: geno·cide : the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group

Steve Dockeray
Milner\Langley BC

Anonymous said...

You look at where the Nisga'a are today. Where are the jobs? The politicians and the few people who work in the administration offices are the only ones who are prospering.
Treaty funds used to finance businesses that have failed Nisga'a Seafoods plant, Wilp Sy'oon Fish Lodge, N.E.E.I. How many millions unaccounted for that has been spent. By this I mean no financial reports to the Nisga'a people on the money spent on these ventures. This is what is been hidden from our own people and the outside world. Is this what you want for your people? Look further ahead than the $15000 dollars that is been offered. Your children and grandchildren will be repaying that when they lose their status and start paying taxes and who knows maybe medical also. We as Nisga'a citizens have become wards of Lisims government. "Do as we say not as we do" That is our Government leading us at this time.

Anonymous said...

Check out this youtube video on the TFN treaty manipulation, featuring an interview with Bertha Williams:

Anonymous said...

"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within"
The Government failed to "Get rid of the Indian Problem" through Residential schools and other underhanded ways. Today negotiations are coming to an end between First Nations and the Government. You hear from both sides the pros and the cons of saying yes to the treaty. Makes you wonder why the government is spending millions to (persuade) inform the people and promises of 15000.00 if they say yes to the treaty. I am Nisga'a I see first hand how our people are destroying ourselves by the loss of land, morals, culture and resources. Our people feel hopeless and depressed as the jobs go to politicians family members and they have to rely on welfare. There is mistrust and anger as the years go by and still the economy and unemployment has not changed. Where are the new homes? our young people rely on welfare The only people making a living are the politicians, office staff and the bootleggers and drug dealers. Our culture is eroding. Oh yes you see the dancers when something goes on but the true leaders are the elders and they are pushed aside. The Ayuukhl (our Laws) are used only when it benefits the people in charge. We are slowly destroying ourselves from within.

Budd Campbell said...

Treaty funds used to finance businesses that have failed Nisga'a Seafoods plant, Wilp Sy'oon Fish Lodge, N.E.E.I. How many millions unaccounted for that has been spent.

An anonymous comment usually leaves me wondering why it's anonymous, but this is specific enough that I would like to ask for more information.

Anonymous said...

NOTE: This comment has been EDITED by Bill Tieleman. Unsubstantiated allegations will not be published here.

* * * * *

Huu-ay-aht Chief councilor Robert Dennis remarks after they ratified their Treaty. " I admire the investments made by The Nisga'a. They put their money away and turned 200 million into 300 million"

What a joke. If he only knew. No financial reports on failed ventures. Wilp Syoon fish lodge. 2 million loaned to Local logging outfit with not one cent repayed. Nisga'a seafoods plant bankrupt.


We as Nisga'a people are left wondering just where we will be once the lands and resources are gone as our fearless leaders get richer.