December 5th, 2018
Liberals must respect Indigenous Rights
HALIFAX- Stephen McNeil’s possible appeal of a court ruling upholding the province’s duty-to-consult is disrespectful towards Indigenous people. The Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruling says McNeil must consult with Pictou Landing First Nation about public money that will be provided to Northern Pulp for a new effluent treatment plant.
“The fact that the Premier is leaving room to go against this decision is the wrong way to go,” said Lenore Zann, NDP Spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs. “The Premier is fond of saying ‘We are all Treaty people,’ so why is he even considering spending more public money to appeal this decision and continue fighting First Nations in court?”
The Liberal government’s record with Indigenous people in Nova Scotia has been rocky, including continuing to challenge Indigenous rights in court. In 2016, a government lawyer tabled a legal brief arguing Sipekne'katik First Nation are a “conquered people”, a comment for which the Premier apologized.
“The Province is bound by the treaties it has signed, and multiple court rulings regarding the duty-to-consult,” said Zann. “The Premier has mucked up the issues around Boat Harbour and Northern Pulp and is failing to show leadership to find solutions.”
The NDP Caucus introduced legislation that would require the government to implement all provincial recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report, as well as provide regular progress updates.