British Columbia Treaty Commission

British Columbia Treaty Commission

June 17, 2012 19:03 ET

Tla'amin People Denied Treaty Vote

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 17, 2012) - Tla'amin members prevented from casting a treaty vote Saturday should be able to exercise their democratic right to vote according to the Treaty Commission.

"The small number of Tla'amin members who blocked the doors to the polling station in Sliammon village near Powell River have trampled on the rights of the Tla'amin people," said Chief Commissioner Sophie Pierre.

The Treaty Commission will continue to support Chief Clint Williams and the Tla'amin community to ensure there is a vote and that everyone can participate, and the parties and the police must work together to ensure Tla'amin First Nation can safely conduct a treaty vote by its members, she said.

"These Tla'amin members who blocked the doors to the polling stations claim to speak for the many," said Pierre. "They are saying they know what is best for Tla'amin. But the decision to accept or reject the treaty is a decision that each Tla'amin member has the right to make on their own."

Tla'amin members' right to vote on the treaty is fundamental to the BC treaty process. As the keeper of the process, it is the Treaty Commission's responsibility to oversee the negotiations and ensure the process is followed.

"We understand there are people who are opposed to the treaty but there has been a long period of negotiations and consultations," said Commissioner Jerry Lampert, who represents the Treaty Commission on Tla'amin negotiations. "Our role is to ensure a vote will be held."

The vote was suspended Saturday, by the ratification committee representing the three parties, when it became clear the entrance to the polling station would remain blocked.

About the BC Treaty Commission

The Treaty Commission is the independent body responsible for overseeing treaty negotiations among the governments of Canada, BC and First Nations in BC. It has three roles: facilitation, funding, and public information and education. Visit to learn more about the Treaty Commission.

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