The B.C. NDP has sparked controversy after quietly and swiftly deciding to bring forward proposed changes to the province's Land Act, potentially resulting in sweeping alterations to the management and use of public Crown land for British Columbians.
Without issuing a press release to the public regarding the proposals, but finding enough time to advise stakeholders, a buzz began to swirl among critics who believe the NDP's plans to amend the Act is undemocratic, given it allows for joint management authority over Crown lands with First Nations.
Concerns have been raised over the decision potentially granting veto power to the province's 205 First Nations — which are not elected by B.C. voters — and causing unnecessary delays in decision-making.
The proposed changes, expected to be drafted for the legislature's upcoming spring session, are seen as a step towards affirming the province's reconciliation commitments, inspired by the global UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) act.
B.C. adopted UNDRIP in 2019, subsequently renaming it the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. UNDRIP also received royal assent in Canada in June 2021.
In today's report, I interview the Leader of the Conservative Party of British Columbia, John Rustad, who previously served as the province's Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. He shares his party's calls to halt both UNDRIP and the BC NDP's proposal to change the Land Act.
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