New Economic Studies
Completing treaties with First Nations could deliver more than $10 billion dollars in economic
benefits to British Columbia’s economy over the next 15 years according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report. The report, Financial and Economic Impacts of Treaty Settlements in British Columbia November 2009 confirms projections made in four earlier studies.
Former Commissioner Michael Harcourt
Thank you for this special opportunity to talk about money. I assume you are all interested in money and that’s why you are financial officers. Really though, sound financial management is important to everyone – an individual, an organization or a First Nation. Your job is extremely important and that is particularly true when we are talking about treaties.
Integral to First Nations' Culture
First Nations have for thousands of years sustained vibrant and rich cultural identities
profoundly linked to BC's land and waters. It is said that the Nisga'a, people of the mighty river,
are so connected to fish that their bones are made of salmon. Living in balance with the land
and the water is an integral part of First Nations' cultures, and fishing is regulated by longstanding
cultural laws around conservation and preservation for future generations.
Towards a Sustainable Fishery on Canada's Pacific Coast
From Port Edward to Steveston there is a pervasive sense of apprehension and anxiety out on the fishing grounds on Canada's Pacific coast. During our investigation, we quickly became aware of a deeply troubled fishery, faced with uncertainty about resources and markets, unprecedented structural changes in the industry, pressures from tough new environmental laws to protect endangered stocks, and from treaties with First Nations.
Preparing for Transformative Change in the BC Fishery
Fisheries in British Columbia are in a period of transition as a result of increasing demands and pressures on the resource
and shifts in government policy to try to respond to these and other issues. This includes First Nations seeking increasing shares in the fishery and greater involvement in management and decision-making, pursuant to their Aboriginal title and rights, and treaty rights.
Self Government Matters
A 13-year study of indigenous nations in the United States has found economic success is closely linked to the power to make decisions. Dr. Stephen Cornell, co-author of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, says their research has yet to find a single case in the United States of sustained economic activity on indigenous lands in which some government body other than the indigenous nation itself is making the decisions about government structure, natural resource use, internal civil affairs and development strategies.
Driving the economy
The cost of treaty making is often a focus of attention, but it is the absence of treaties that is impacting BC's
economy every day. Instead of watching these economic opportunities pass by,more and more BC businesses are forging relationships with First Nations and
positioning themselves as leaders in BC's changing economic climate.
Open the Door to New Business Opportunities
The absence of treaties in British Columbia is a major drain on the British Columbia economy. At the same time, there are significant opportunities—before and after treaties are concluded—for businesses that can build relationships with First Nations. But before these relationships can evolve, the business community and First Nation communities need to understand one another.
Charting a New Deal for BC, First Nations and the Forests We Share
Over the past few years, British Columbia's government has made a concerted effort to share a portion of provincial revenues and forest resources with First Nations. The decision to do so was driven largely by a mounting number of court decisions that forced the province to more closely consult and find "workable" accommodations with First Nations whose traditional lands were being altered by industrial logging activities.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers report makes the economic case for accelerating treaty completions
in British Columbia.
In the past 14 years there have been three principle studies looking at the economic impacts of treaty settlements in British Columbia, including this Grant Thornton report.
The Treaty Commission was part of an omnibus telephone survey conducted by the Mustel Group February 11-16. The survey of 509 British Columbians has a 95% confidence rating.
Closing the income gap between First Nations and the rest of Canada requires supporting local decision-making and the development of institutional capacity, says a recent study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.