The perils of the Nisga’a ‘parallel state’

"Two wrongs don't make a right," says Saanich reader

Re: Nisga’a proving critics wrong (B.C. Views, Dec. 3).

Tom Fletcher seems to have had an epiphany that’s led to his urging acceptance of Supreme Court of Canada rulings which enabled the creation by the Nisga’a Nation of (Fletcher’s words) “a parallel state” in B.C.

Fletcher may never have learned that “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

The first long-standing wrong at issue is the sorry treatment of aboriginals in both B.C. and across Canada. Despite significant improvements over recent years, more remains to be done.

The second wrong is that the Supreme Court of Canada now enables a new layer of government in B.C. What’s been created is a “landed gentry” of sorts who have, in effect, received authority to exercise sovereign powers. They now plan to establish multiple export-enabling liquid natural gas terminals on the B.C. coast.

B.C. taxpayers will follow such developments with interest, particularly if there is no parallel commitment by the Nisga’a to assume increasing responsibility for both federal and provincial government services, as their “parallel state” business plans prove profitable.

The old adage that “there’s only one taxpayer” could, with Nisga’a concurrence, remain a truism. It’s based on the realization that whether it’s for services provided by local, provincial or federal governments, most voters and elected leaders have long recognized it’s the voting taxpayer who determines both government funding levels and program priorities.

Unanswered questions include: Will this aboriginal “parallel state” acknowledge a responsibility to participate – within its anticipated capability – as a fully functional entity within our national federation?

Will it fund a portion of the many provincial and federal government services it now receives?

Will it commit to creating and funding its self-determined unique government service programs?

Historical antipathy between First Nations, local, provincial and federal agencies indicates a need for strong, but flexible leadership at all four governmental levels.

In seeking a comprehensive governmental rebalancing, we’ll hopefully avoid historically based emotional rhetoric supporting retributive rationale if we’re to minimize costly, confrontational negotiations.

In B.C., our often-envied Canadian cultural mosaic is at risk of becoming a dysfunctional and tattered societal quilt.

Ron Johnson

Saanich

Just Posted

Premier John Horgan announces improvements to Highway 14

Construction on the $10 million project is set to begin immediately

Upgrades to Millstream overpass to begin Feb. 1

Project includes addition of left hand turn lane onto highway to Victoria

Victoria Grizzlies look to continue hot steak

Team hits the road this weekend before Family Fun Night

Victoria wins crucial WHL contest over Giants in Langley

Royals take over second in B.C. Division ahead of Vancouver

Man hospitalized after early morning Sooke Road crash

Police say injuries are non life-threatening

Monster trucks invade Victoria

Traxxas Monster Truck Tour stops at Save-On Foods Memorial Centre this weekend

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

RCMP nail sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

LETTER: The sewage spiral continues in Greater Victoria

My left brain has been trying to digest the news and comments… Continue reading

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

Renowned Comox Valley sasquatch researcher passes away

A renowned biologist and leading Canadian sasquatch researcher who called the Comox… Continue reading

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

Most Read