Newsletter from Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy
Dear Neighbours, Friends and Community Members,
June is National Indigenous History Month, a time to learn and show support for the ongoing work of reconciliation. This month, B.C. and the Tahltan Central Government entered the first ever consent-based decision-making agreement under the Declaration Act.
This agreement honours Tahltan’s jurisdiction in land-management decisions in Tahltan Territory, recognizing Tahltan’s title and inherent rights within its territory. It lays out how B.C. and the Tahltan Central Government will work together to support their respective decisions and resolve disputes throughout the environmental assessment process for the Eskay Creek Revitalization Project.
By providing predictability for this project, this historic agreement demonstrates how reconciliation and economic development can go hand-in-hand. This is truly a landmark milestone for us all as it shifts B.C.’s legal decision-making framework to respect First Nations jurisdiction.
National Indigenous History Month is also a time to honour and recognize the rich history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples across Canada.
This week, we also announced $34.75 million in funding to support First Nations communities to revitalize their languages, cultures, arts and heritage. B.C. has incredible language diversity and is home to 34 First Nations languages, which make up more than half of all First Nations languages in Canada. Alongside languages, arts, culture and heritage are vital roots that connect people to each other, their communities, and across generations. But past colonial policy and the residential school system tried to extinguish Indigenous languages and cultures.
This builds on a $50 million investment in 2018 that led to the completion of over 450 language revitalization projects being completed in B.C., creation of 4,150 language immersion opportunities to support fluency, and efforts to document languages and create new speakers. This additional funding will help ensure that First Nations languages, arts, culture and heritage can be passed on to future generations.
While we cannot erase the past atrocities Indigenous peoples have experienced across generations, we must understand our shared history and take action to ensure we create a brighter future together. There is still much to do together to support communities in their work, which is vital to self-governance and sovereignty.
Minister’s statement on Cullen Commission’s final report
Under the BC Liberals, there was a serious, decade-long problem of organized crime laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in BC casinos. When we took over in 2017, our government made different choices. We put a stop to that activity in our casinos and have been taking important actions to fight money laundering elsewhere. This report will help us build on that work. We’ll continue taking important actions to fight this illegal activity, and we’ll keep building a stronger, more fair economy that works for people.
Province provides funding to reduce community wildfire risks, enhance forest health
Proactively reducing wildfire risk and improving ecosystem health is vital to prepare communities against climate change. We are providing $25 million to the Forest Enhancement Society of BC for community projects that reduce wildfire risk and enhance wildlife habitat, greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, forest recreation and ecological resiliency. Applications for this funding will open on Monday, June 20, 2022. This new funding for Forest Enhancement Society of BC will help build communities that are safer and more resilient to climate change.
My constituency assistants, Angelika Brunner and Sarah Brownlee are both in our Castlegar Office which is open, full time Monday – Thursday for appointment only. Please contact 1-250-304-2783 or Katrine.Conroy.MLA@leg.bc.ca and they will be happy to assist.
MLA Kootenay West