Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tsawwassen Chief Kim Baird criticizes "columnists, environmentalists and politicians" who oppose removal of farmland from Agricultural Land Reserve

Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird criticizes "columnists, environmentalists and politicians" for opposing exclusion of prime Delta farmland from Agricultural Land Reserve given to Tsawwassen in treaty

In her address to the BC Legislature Monday afternoon, Chief Baird went after - probably specifically me - who disagree with the Tsawwassen Treaty excluding farmland from the ALR so it can be used for Deltaport container shipping expansion.

I respect Chief Baird's considerable abilities and her skill in negotiating a treaty for the Tsawwassen people - but I fundamentally disagree with the provincial government legislatively removing 207 hectares - or about 500 acres - of farmland from the ALR and with the Tsawwassen for demanding it.

And I find it incredible that Chief Baird continues to publicly claim the Tsawwassen will not necessarily agree to pave the land for container port expansion when there is a Memorandum of Agreement with the Vancouver Port Authority right on the Tsawwassen First Nation's own website.

That MOA reads in part: "CHAPTER 1 - GENERAL MATTERS AND RATIFICATION1. The purpose of this Agreement is to set out the basis for TFN to benefit from the Roberts Bank Port Facility and from the Roberts Bank Port Facility Expansion on Roberts Bank within the Tsawwassen Territory and adjacent to the TFN Reserve and toprovide a basis for a mutually beneficial relationship between the Parties."

No port expansion on ALR land?

Furthermore, Chief Baird has repeatedly admitted in media reports that the Tsawwassen will use ALR land for development. She said in the Vancouver Sun in June 2006:"We'll probably be asking for about half of it to be taken out of the agricultural land reserve. If we can't have that, I don't think we can have a treaty. That would be a deal-breaker."

And the Tsawwassen reprinted the Globe and Mail report of July 27, 2007 - on their website - without correcting what it says: "The deal will more than double the size of the reserve, with an extra 372 hectares of surrounding Crown land added from the province's Agricultural Land Reserve. More than 200 hectares of that protected farmland will be removed from the ALR to allow the band to build a container storage facility in line with port expansion plans."

Sorry Chief Baird but it's obvious what will happen to that farmland - it will be paved over, and soon.

Here is the Hansard draft section of Chief Baird's speech yesterday:

"Consider the clause in our treaty that stipulates the transfer of 207 hectares to us from the agricultural land reserve. Some of you may have heard of this. In the countdown to the final agreement, we made it clear we needed those lands in order to live and grow, to set up businesses and build houses."

"No other aspect of our treaty resulted in as much controversy, so many headlines. Some critics — including columnists, environmentalists and politicians — are trying to block our treaty because of the agricultural land reserve issue."

"Critics choose to ignore Tsawwassen's history of being victims of industrial and urban development to the benefit of everyone but us. The naysayers do not seem to care that they are calling for the continued exclusion of Tsawwassen from opportunities everyone else has enjoyed. "So what of Tsawwassen First Nations' legitimate economic needs? So what of Tsawwassen First Nations' land base needs? Let's just continue to ignore Tsawwassen First Nations' needs." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

I will repeat again what I have told Chief Baird personally in a debate earlier this year - treaties should be about righting past wrongs - this treaty simply creates yet another one.

What was done in the past to the Tsawwassen people was wrong.

But at a time of drastic climate change and serious threats to British Columbia's food security, the solution is not to pave farmland for container shipping.

First Nations have been shamefully mistreated and need not only to be fairly compensated for their loss but also equipped to participate in our society and economy on equal terms.

Giving the Tsawwassen the opportunity to make tragic mistakes with irreplaceable farmland to turn a quick buck because of guilt is no way to solve problems.

And for Premier Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberal government to use legitimate grievances from a First Nation to remove farmland from the ALR to get massive Deltaport expansion is contemptible.

More on this in a future 24 hours column.


Anonymous said...

Bill, as much as I feel as strongly as you about trying to retain the ALR land, one paragraph in particular of your article highlights the problem:
Quote: "Giving the Tsawwassen the opportunity to make tragic mistakes with irreplaceable farmland to turn a quick buck because of guilt is no way to solve problems."
Do we need to continue to be the benevolent bald white guys (me too) who must protect the indians from making mistakes? Haven't we been doing that for a couple of hundred years, to our enrichment, and their detriment?

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks for the comment Anonymous 12:47 p.m. - and let me reply.

What I am suggesting is not "protecting the Indians from making mistakes" at all - I want the Tsawwassen to be equal citizens as and as such, have the Agricultural Land Reserve rules apply in the same way to their land as to all other land.

Needless to say, we haven't protected First Nations at all - we've exploited their land and resources.

But I reject the idea that the only redress is to tell First Nations that they now have the same opportunity to screw up our planet as we had and even encourage them to do so in some bizarre sense of redress.

It's time for all of us to realize how important farmland is and to protect it while we still can - First Nations and immigrants.

Paving farmland for dollars and a few jobs for the Tsawwassen is no solution for anyone.

Anonymous said...

The lady speaks with forked tongue. Their plan for using ALR lands has been mentioned in the public a number of times as Bill has mentioned here.
This was a con job and the thing that concerns me greatly and will no doubt concern the municipality next door is just what provincial laws are they planning to observe, if any? They don't seem to care that provincial laws are to apply. And federals ones as well. If a local municipality does business deals with the lady they should be careful as to what they agree to do. She says one thing and does something else. Too bad she wasn't a MLA because she would be charges with " Misleading the house". by reading the speach even on the other side of the red rope.
I spent years folloing treaty process in this province and I feel sad. Any deal cooked upif its to some company benefit friends of Gordos., will shift the post one more time. I can no longer trustthe treaty negotiations of this province. Hell its just ten years of my time down the drain. The next band election should be intersting as other will now want to run the band management. Wake up folks, this is not a great deal for anyone DL

Budd Campbell said...

"Sadly, either these tools or similar tools of colonialism were used throughout the world at this unfortunate time in world history. More specific to us, tools of land title and other rights of newcomers were mapped over our territories, effectively erasing our presence and marginalizing us to the fringes of our territory and broader society."

"In more recent times these tools have evolved to land use designations, official community plans and livable region strategies. Again, other people mapped over our territories without our input, all the while with unextinguished aboriginal title that still underlies our territory. Does this sound extreme? For sure, land use and development issues are key issues in our treaty and in the lower mainland as well. In fact, this is the crux of controversy because of the importance of these issues."

Like the Throne Speech, it appears that Chief Baird's address was likely prepared by officials in the Office of The Premier.

The above two paragraphs are a truly breathtaking piece of propaganda, throwing in the ALR and land use zoning generally with "colonialism". I have to wonder how the high-fivin' white guys in the Premier's Office who wrote these two paragraphs managed to resist the temptation to use the words "soviet" or "communist" in relation to the ALR. Obviously they decided to follow the old adage that the best defence is a good offence, and offensive it is.

I hope that in years to come investigative reporters will be following the scene closely to see which senior politicians and administrators from the Tsawwassen First Nation receive lucrative positions and contracts from Deltaport and related companies.

Anonymous said...

There is a caste system operating on TFN and at Musqueam--some folks have big houses, others have shacks. So it will be with this treaty, some will benefit, others won't. And when they get hungry, it will be the white man's fault.

Anonymous said...

Why would you think Chief Baird’s comments were directed at you ? Once again Tieleman you are a legend in your own mind.

Over the past month that I have followed your Blog I have noticed a disturbing trend; basically in your mind you are always right and everyone else is always wrong.

I don’t know where that level of arrogance comes from; however it does make for some amusing reading. I don’t know how the NDP survives without you.

dirk buchholz said...

One thing a few of the commenter's seem to be failing to understand.The BC Treaty is a fundamentally flawed process the majority of First Nation peoples understand this and are opposed to it and the manner in which the Tsawwassen Treaty was "negotiated" .Albeit in some cases for different reasons than,just the fact the some land will be removed from ALR.
There has to be reconciliation with FN peoples,but not the way it was done in this instance(which is not about reconciliation or justice).Kim Baird is a very naive person,who was used.
The government settled with her for one reason only,to get land removed for the purpose of port expansion.Not because Campbell gives a shit about 300+ natives,nor because the BC government all of a sudden has seen the light and is ashamed of past and ongoing injustices.This deal stinks,and the consequences and true cost for the Tsawwassen people will in the long term be very negative(check back in a few years).Further more Baird does not nor ever had the right to negotiate away indigenous right,of generations yet born.
this treaty and the BC treaty process in general are both fundamentally flawed.
I noticed Kim Baird whined about..."columnists, environmentalists and politicians — are trying to block our treaty because of the agricultural land reserve issue."...she seems to have forgotten to mention all the FN peoples that are also opposed.She forgot to mention the overlapping land claims with neighboring First Nations.Pretty disingenuous on her part.All about First Nations and "justice/reconciliation",indeed.
Check out(goggle) articles by Alfred Taiaiake Phd,native author,activist and scholar (Indigenous governance U of Victoria)
also read:

Budd Campbell said...

Bill, there are two pieces in the Globe and Mail's B.C. section today in which Justine Hunter interviews Kim Baird. While the Deltaport is mentioned, the MOU between Deltaport and the Tsawwassen is not.

At a panel meeting hosted a few weeks ago by the SFU Cities Program at the Harbourside Campus, which included Mike Harcourt, Ken Cameron and Sean Rossiter, a question came up about the Treaty. Harcourt said it was a myth that farmland was involved, which I took to mean that since the BC Govt had expropriated the land in the 1960s with support for the Roberts Bank port in mind that it's intended use, as determined by the BC Govt, had been effectively changed at that point, and its inclusion in the ALR was somehow incidental. You might want to ask Harcourt about that.

One thing Hunter's article does make clear in the very first paragraph is that the land is growing fall crops at this time.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Why would you think Chief Baird’s comments were directed at you ? Once again Tieleman you are a legend in your own mind.
Gosh Bill, you seem to have a few friend who makes nasty comments, but not on what you report. You state a number of facts about earlier debate with the lady. Her comments were against journalits, and others who arn't dancing to her tune,enviromnentalists were right in there as well. Did you know tha a few years ago the same bad was arranging to use a bird sancuary for a sewer lagoon? Back then all bands claimed to be keepers of the earth. So what has changed. Dollar signs, that's what.

She has changed her position a few times. Leasing, well maybe not even though its been widly reported that the band have every intention of doing so. As recently as today, as Budd draws our attention to an inteview, with Hunter, the use of the land seems not definite. It's far easier to drop comments about a person than to come up with sound reasons for the nasty comments. Besides its Bill's blog which is supposed to be his opinions. His name is on the top so folks can throw stuff his way. But lets stick to the story. Is the band taking land formerly in the ALR that had been protected by BC Laws, to be used for leasing to a port for parking, or is it still to be used for growing stuff . I know little about emails but I do know that a persons address is right there for the blog owner to read. So nobody is really annon. Bill know who I am, and who you are as well . DL

Anonymous said...

I agree strongly with anonymous. There is most definitely a cast system at work on the TFN reserve. I have found out through the grapevine, now that self governance is apparent, that those in power plan to expropriate certain members land for their future community plan. Well isn't that something, they always complained about the white man taking their land, now they have to worry about their own government sticking it to them. I personally think this whole natives sticking together attitude will fall like a house of cards when money and power start taking their toll.