Simply put, it is time for British Columbia and Canada to take reconciliation seriously, and recognize that the current approach is not working. Reconciliation is not a path to approving resource projects that industry wants, but an ongoing and meaningful relationship built between Nations. Reconciliation requires recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights, including Aboriginal title. Meaningful reconciliation will take time, require respect, and embody cooperative federalism in coordinating jurisdiction and working towards a common goal.
This is an important moment for the project of reconciliation: protests across the country have made this evident to all of us. They are the product of real outrage felt over promises made that are constantly deferred, and the reality that Canadian law and Canadian interests are always held to be of greater importance than Indigenous law and interests.
It is time for Premier Horgan and Prime Minister Trudeau to move past lofty words that are paired with adversarial relations in court. They can no longer try to provide certainty for resource extraction projects at the expense of the title holders of the land. Respecting Indigenous title and rights must start with the removal of the RCMP from Wet’suwet’en territory, but it cannot end there. The governments of British Columbia and Canada must recognize the continuity of Indigenous orders of government and come to an agreement on how to jointly exercise sovereignty. This is the hard work of reconciliation, and it is time to start that work now.