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Co-governance Canadian style – B.C. pauses Land Act amendments amid veto concerns

Summarised by Centrist 

The government of Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia has decided to halt plans to amend the Land Act following widespread criticism. 

The proposed changes mirror closely the co-governance model in New Zealand and are aimed at granting “decision-making powers” to Indigenous groups in line with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA). 

While the province sought to facilitate reconciliation, concerns were raised about potential veto power granted to Indigenous communities. 

CBC quotes BC Conservative Party president Aisha Estey: 

“We disagree that six per cent of the population should have essentially a veto power over 95 per cent of the land.”

Although disappointed, Indigenous leaders say further consultation and education on the amendments is needed and that the push for co-management agreements continues. 

Opposition to co-management is labelled racists and, like co-governance, much of the rhetoric and reforms are based on the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP). 

Editor’s note: BC’s Co-management agreements are not as developed as co-governance policies are (or were) in NZ, but similarities between the two make it worth keeping an eye on.   

Read more over at CBC

Feature image: Kluane National Park and Reserve is co-managed by Kluane First Nation, Champage-Aishihik First Nation, and the Canadian Government. Films Oiseau de nuit

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