Maritime treaty talk premature, says N.B. leader
Friday, January 19, 2001
FREDERICTON. New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord says it may be premature to start talking about a new, modern treaty with the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet people of the Maritimes.
Lord reacted Thursday to comments by federal Fisheries Minister Herb Dhaliwal who is becoming impatient with the reluctance of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island to take a more active role in tackling the issue of native access to natural resources.
Lord acknowledged many people, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal, want the access question settled so everyone knows the rules for hunting, logging and fishing.
But he said a new treaty will only work if all parties are at the table and willing to sign on the dotted line.
“Basically, I don’t think we’re there yet,” he said.
Dhaliwal said New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have been too willing to let
Ottawa take the heat over native access to natural resources.
He said only Nova Scotia has expressed a readiness to tackle treaty renegotiation as a means of averting the tensions and occasional violence that have surrounded native fishing and logging claims.
“When there’s a problem in politics, people always want to put it on someone else’s plate,” Dhaliwal said in an interview on Wednesday.
“They’re not interested in dealing with it themselves and I think they (New Brunswick and P.E.I.) have to pony up as well and get to the table and be part of the solution.”
The federal government has developed a draft plan aimed at ending native and non-native tensions over natural resources in the Maritimes.