Monday, March 10, 2008

Victor Sails The Salish Sea

Come with me while we connect the dots.

What prompted the BC Liberals to propose changing the name of the Georgia Strait to the Salish Sea and how does this connect to Geoff Plant?

It stems from a dangerous expectation created among First Nations leaders by Gordon Campbell. He somehow hinted that he would introduce legislation permitting First Nations to vet and approve every law and regulation touching on Aboriginal Rights and Title. They took him seriously and had their lawyers draft the proposed law called the Indigenous Nations Reconciliation Act. It would effectively make First Nations an unelected senate with the power to revise or reject virtually any law coming out of Victoria. That is not an overstatement in the sense that it is easily possible to make a connection, however tenuous, between any law and the rights of some band, somewhere in BC.

Perhaps sensing the folly of his vain quest to be the Abraham Lincoln of BC, Campbell pulled back and didn't introduce the Bill.

Talk about shoe in the poo.

First Nations leaders are seething and in response, have held widely reported meetings this past week to develop a strategy to shame the province internationally. Can you say Olympic Games?
So Geoff Plant has been hired by the government to soothe feelings and seek a compromise. How Plant will squeeze this in between his duties as Civil City Commissioner (3 days a week at $160,000 a year) hasn't been explained.

As for the Salish Sea gambit, it's a trembling attempt to mollify the Aboriginal political power elite. Translation, "We'll tinker with place names if you back off on your proposed law." It won't work. They have been promised a legislative hammer and they won't settle for a pom-pom.

The renaming suggestion for the Georgia Strait is interesting from a couple of other perspectives. First, it is curious that an anglicized term was chosen when the trend among BC First Nations is to revert to their historic names, phonetically reproduced with the help of consultants. Check the government web sites for lists of First Nations in BC.

Second, will Prince George, Prince Rupert and Williams Lake, to name a few, retain their colonial place names? How will Civil Geoff rationalize that?

Stay tuned for a hot summer.

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