NDP constitutional overreach now impacts private property rights in draft agreement

VICTORIA (March 22, 2024) – In a joint statement, Kevin Falcon, Leader of BC United, and Michael Lee, BC United Shadow Minister for Attorney General, and Indigenous Relations & Reconciliation, voiced concerns over the recent announcement by the NDP Government of a draft agreement with the Council of the Haida Nation. This agreement, aimed at recognizing First Nations title over all lands on Haida Gwaii—including privately owned lands—signals a dramatic departure from constitutional frameworks and established jurisprudence.

“By advancing an agreement that stretches beyond the constitution and established legal precedents, this government is fostering a climate of uncertainty that will deter investment and destabilize the land base across our province.

“The NDP’s approach, shrouded in secrecy and lacking broad public consultation, is not in keeping with the spirit of reconciliation or the public interest, which demands open, honest dialogue and a commitment to finding solutions that respect the interests of all parties involved. Instead, they have chosen to disregard the nuanced balance of rights and responsibilities that form the bedrock of our legal system.

“This draft agreement clearly demonstrates the NDP Government’s continuous failure to prioritize the public interest of all British Columbians. BC United is calling for an immediate pause to allow for a transparent and inclusive consultation process involving all stakeholders, including Indigenous communities, private landowners, business sectors, and the general public, to ensure alignment with constitutional laws and court rulings, and that it genuinely serves the collective interest of British Columbians.”

The draft agreement, as reported, proposes to affirm the Haida Nation’s title in a manner unprecedented in Canadian law, raising questions about the future of the governance of Crown lands and private property rights. This move has the potential to infringe upon the rights of users of Crown lands and landowners and create legal ambiguities that could have far-reaching economic and social implications.