Working together on enforcement: CHN, BC

  • Mar. 22, 2013 7:00 a.m.

The BC government and the Haida Nation will be working together to enforce natural-resource-related provincial laws on Haida Gwaii in the future. The two governments made the announcement this week, saying the new approach flows naturally from the Kunst’aa Guu – Kunst’aayah Reconciliation Protocol signed in 2009. “It’s super exciting,” said Gordon Hitchcock, west coast region inspector for the Conservation Officer Service. “It’s trail blazing, actually.” Mr. Hitchcock said nothing like this is in place anywhere else in BC. The new model calls for two existing natural resource officers with the Ministry of Forests to work with two conservation officers. One of the conservation officers will start work April 2, filling a position that has been empty since last year. The other conservation officer position is a brand new one, and will be filled by someone from the Haida Nation. That person hasn’t been hired yet, but Mr. Hitchcock said they should be in place by May. “This model is unique,” Mr. Hitchcock said. “There’s no other location right now in British Columbia where you have this model being deployed.” The new team will no longer be supervised from Vancouver Island, as in the past, but will be headed by one of the conservation officers. Mr. Hitchcock said this will mean less paperwork and more time for enforcement. The team’s job is to make sure people and companies are obeying hunting and fishing regulations, pollution laws, and complying with standards and codes of practice for logging activities. In a statement, Council of the Haida Nation president Peter Lantin said the move is a positive step. “Compliance and enforcement is key to ensuring that Haida values are embedded into the day-to-day operations of managing the forests and streams,” he said. “This initiative is another positive step in the implementation of the Kunst’aa Guu – Kunst’aayah reconciliation protocol, which shows that two governments can co-exist and get business done.”