VANCOUVER (February 5, 2024) – BC United Leader Kevin Falcon announced measures to ensure decisions about Public Land are always made by elected representatives of all British Columbians in response to growing concerns over the NDP’s disastrous handling of land use decisions and the erosion of democratic principles.
“David Eby’s secretive Land Act amendments show that the NDP has misled all British Columbians, eroding fundamental democratic principles with changes that will only fuel division. BC United cannot support giving veto power to five percent of the population with impacts to over 95 percent of Public Land. We must focus on partnerships with First Nations that move us all forward together toward genuine reconciliation, instead of ill-conceived policies that drive us apart,” said Kevin Falcon, Leader of BC United.
“The land currently known as Crown Land should be recognized as Public Land because it belongs to the public,” added Falcon. “Under a BC United government, we will officially rename Crown Land to Public Land to emphasize the crucial relationship between that land and the public interest, from the economy to recreation and much more. We’ll also ensure that all land management decisions are made by representatives elected by the people acting in the public interest.”
Today, Kevin Falcon announced that a BC United government will take the following immediate steps to ensure transparency, accountability, and inclusion in Public Land management:
- Public Land Legislation: BC United will rename Crown Land to ‘Public Land,’ to reflect its ownership by all British Columbians. The legislation will ensure that all land management decisions are made by provincial representatives elected by the people in the public interest, emphasize the crucial relationship between Public Land and the public interest, by replacing the term ‘Crown’ land with ‘Public Land,’ and create a framework to ensure that all laws of British Columbia are consistent with the principle of managing Public Land in the public interest.
- Transparent Decision-Making: A Kevin Falcon-led BC United government will require transparency in decision-making and full consultation about Public Land and end the NDP’s pattern of secrecy and non-disclosure agreements. We will ensure decisions about B.C.’s Public Land are made in the open to restore public confidence and reverse the NDP’s secretive approach that fuels division and erodes public trust.
- Timely Public Land Decisions: BC United will enforce strict timelines for Public Land decisions to create certainty for the public and industry ensuring that Public Land continues to contribute to B.C.’s prosperity while being managed responsibly and efficiently. In collaboration with First Nations, we will provide clarity on decision-making criteria and develop the supports needed to expedite permitting reviews and authorizations.
“Decisions about Public Land must be made by elected representatives of all British Columbians,” said Ellis Ross, BC United Shadow Minister for Energy and LNG. “Whether it’s recreation, dock permits, mining or forestry, these decisions impact all of us, First Nations and non-First Nations alike, but David Eby wants to fuel division within British Columbia while eroding public trust. BC United stands firmly against this undemocratic plan to cut the public out of Public Land decisions.”
“Let me be clear: the blame for this disastrous situation lies squarely with the NDP, and the NDP alone,” concluded Michael Lee, BC United Shadow Minister for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “While the NDP’s mismanagement continues to sow division, BC United is committed to reconciliation and true economic partnerships with First Nations, including through the establishment of the Indigenous Loan Guarantee Program to provide greater access to capital to First Nations to support their equity ownership and participation in natural resource projects.”
Last week, Kevin Falcon raised the alarm about David Eby’s secretive Land Act amendments. These changes would have massive impacts on the public and the economy, but the NDP attempted to bypass public engagement, accountability, and scrutiny with rushed consultation and pre-drafted legislation.