Negotiating team changes

  • Sep. 29, 2006 5:00 a.m.

Changes to the provincial team have created further stumbling blocks to negotiations on the Letter of Understanding which arose out of last year’s Island Spirit Rising protest.
Provincial negotiator Jose Villa-Arce said he stopped participating in discussions on the Letter of Understanding earlier this month, when Haida Nation president Guujaaw accused him of negotiating in bad faith.
He told Guujaaw he would leave if the statement wasn’t taken back, but rather than hearing an apology, he said the allegation was repeated. So he left.
“The province is reconsidering how to proceed,” he said of the negotiations.
For his part, Guujaaw said Mr. Villa-Arce was trying to undermine the process. He said a year and a half after the Island Spirit action there has been no movement on the provincial side.
“That’s the way the province handles these things. They walk out and take their marbles with them and put economic sanctions on those who say bad faith,” he said.
Mr. Villa-Arce said he will no longer be the Observer’s contact on the file and no one else at the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation could be reached by our deadline to confirm the province’s new trajectory.
Negotiations on the Land Use Plan are proceeding with Janet Gagnon now heading up the negotiations for the provincial government.