HomePoliticsBC NDP delays Land Act amendments, accuses critics of 'fearmongering and misinformation'

BC NDP delays Land Act amendments, accuses critics of ‘fearmongering and misinformation’

The BC NDP backs down on Land Act amendments

Amendments planned to be made to the BC Land Act have been put on pause after the BC NDP was hit with a torrent of message by concerned citizens, businesses and industry leaders.

“Our government has decided not to proceed with proposed amendments to the Land Act.”  Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, posted on the government of BC news website.

In a statement to Nanaimo News Bulletin last week Cullen claimed “There is no veto in these amendments.”

Yesterday after the BC NDP announced that the amendments will be delayed. BC NDP MLA Cullen took to CBC to once again accuse concerned British Columbians of spreading “misinformation.”

“I worry greatly and I think a number of First Nations worried also, that that misinformation was dividing people. Pitting neighbour against neighbour people. First Nations against non-First Nations. And that’s not good for anybody. I think the people that were spreading that misinformation. And some of it come from political parties in the opposition which is incredibly unfortunate. Um, they have their own responsibility for that. My responsibility is to be able to have the conversation where we can come together. Where British Columbians are able to understand what is being proposed”

Originally there was no public announcement of public consultation about the proposal to radically alter the BC Land Act.

With Cullens claim that there will be no veto powers for First Nations. Cullen is lying to British Columbians or he is naïve. Cullens assertion of no veto powers for First Nations in the BC Land Act amendments is factually incorrect.

In any type of decision that requires the support of 2 individuals or parties defaults to a ‘No’ decision if one of the parties votes no. Much like when it comes to sex which requires both parties to consent. If one of the individuals says no they do not want to have sex, this is a veto decision of non consent. If the one that voted yes on the consent dives in to sex with the non consenting person it is called rape.

This veto decision making is also how the BC Land Act amendments will work. “Joint decision-making,” “consent,” and “veto” are the words we have been hearing from the BC NDP government which all essentially mean the same thing because they all follow the same logic of consent for sexual conduct.

At the beginning of February Cullen asserted there is no veto powers because either party with concerns can apply to a court for judicial review. “It holds both parties — B.C. and whichever nation we enter into an agreement (with) — to the same standard of judicial review, administrative fairness, all the things that courts protect when someone is going through an application or a tendering process.” told the Vancouver business community.

After media drew attention and concerned citizens bombarded the government with questions and the BC NDP accused British Columbians of spreading misinformation about its plans to give First Nations joint decision-making power when and where agreements are entered into. The government of B.C. quickly updated its web page to deny any of the suspicion.

The BC Land Act engagement website was first archived on January 29, 2024 which doesn’t include and of the claims made by the BC government. The change on the webpage is archived on February 21, 2024 which now includes a write with a little more details.

The government quickly added a wall of text which includes saying the Land Act amendments will not “Lead to broad, sweeping, or automatic changes or Provide a ‘veto.’”

To this day there is no draft of what the amendments being proposed would look like, the only details the public has to go from is the reference to DRIPA and UNDRIP.

As of writing this article on Feb 26, 2024. The BC Land Act engagement that was supposed to run until March 31, 2024 has been cut early and now displays an alert that it ran from January 4 to February 21, 2024.

Bill 41 was passed in the BC Legislature in 2019, the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA). It compels the government to take “all measures necessary” to ensure that British Columbia’s laws are compliant with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP).

Word for word from UNDRIP, a declaration of the U.N. General Assembly passed in 2007 says Indigenous people have “the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired… to own, use, develop and control.” There’s no definition to describe what is meant by “traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.”

Article 26

  1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.
  2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.

UNDRIP on its own holds no teeth in Canadian or provincial laws and unenforceable because Canada is a sovereign nation that doesn’t take its marching orders from the unelected United Nations.

Unfortunately the BC NDP are seeking to use DRIPA to incorporate UNDRIP into B.C. law. While Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982; already requires consultation with First Nations. Section 7 of DRIPA goes even further baking in the requirement establish joint decision-making

Shortly after DRIPA was passed in 2019 , concerns of unintended consequences already began to appear. “It will likely be impossible for government to live up to the expectations that Indigenous groups will now reasonably hold, without fundamentally affecting the rights and interests of third parties.” Vancouver lawyer Robin Junger wrote in the Vancouver Sun

To see a small sample of how the amendments would play you only need to look at the shishalh Nation and the province jointly developed “Dock Management Plan” for Pender Harbour. The plan will impose onerous rules on private property owners including “no go” zones turning many existing legal docks and boat house into non-compliance.

Property owners with docks and boat house in full legal compliance being effected by the legal changes will have no rights to consultations, negotiations or to be grandfathered in for existing structures. While there is no draft of the Land Act amendments, it only feeds into the speculation this type of plan will be baked into B.C. law.

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Jordan is a casual reporter for BC Rise


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