EDITORIAL: Complicated relationship

By and large, most residents respect the basic principle of the autonomy of the Semiahmoo First Nation.

What the Semiahmoo First Nation does on its own ancestral lands is its own business.

And whether the 93 members of the group are happy with what their chief and councillors do for the salaries they draw – nearly $500,000 in combined salaries that have occasioned comment across Canada for their apparent generosity – remains, ultimately, between them and their elected officials.

Whether the people represented accept the rationale provided for the salaries or take issue with the governance and services they receive, is for them to say – and so far few have commented either way.

Although moves by the Semiahmoo First Nation to consolidate control of its lands – such as fencing off parts of Semiahmoo Park to limit incursions by inconsiderate dog owners – have met with some resentment, by and large most residents respect the basic principle of the autonomy of the Peninsula’s indigenous population.

But to the extent that more than $3 million of the Semiahmoo First Nation’s declared income last year came from provincial taxpayers – in comparison to less than $172,000 from the federal government – we, too, could be forgiven for taking an interest in whether our neighbours’ best interests are being served.

It is troubling, given that provincial contribution, that some describe living conditions on the Semiahmoo reserve as being “Third World.”

And while many might decry what a massive program of land development on the reserve would mean for the whole Peninsula – as well as such ventures running counter to avowed aims and objectives of the Semiahmoo First Nation’s leadership – it does seem that there is more potential to boost economic development through wise stewardship of existing assets.

Opinions differ widely on whether a formal treaty between the Semiahmoo people and B.C. would actually grant them more autonomy – some view such an agreement, which requires a surrender of indigenous title, as an attack on the legacy of future generations.

The current salary and income revelations create a thorny issue because nobody – or certainly nobody on a local level – has a desire to intrude on or interfere with the dealings of the Semiahmoo people.

But as long as the Semiahmoo First Nation’s income seems dependent on taxpayer contributions, rather than on its own program of economic development, the relationship with its neighbours will likely remain complicated.

 

 

Just Posted

Semiahmoo Trail students surpass Coldest Night fundraising goal

Rocco Forte and his team are third-year participants in Saturday’s Coldest Night of the Year walk

Surrey Central SkyTrain Station upgrades completed

It’s the seventh station along Expo Line to see upgrades completed. Construction began in March 2017

Tardi and team playoff bound in junior curling worlds tonight

Friday night Team Canada’s men’s team faces off against Norway, hoping to secure a spot in the finals

Former Cloverdale church elder will be tried in Supreme Court on sexual assault charges

Preliminary inquiry for Brian Batke case set for February 2020

Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K.’ before posting on social media

‘Be Kind’ message on shirts sold for anti-bullying activities of Wednesday, Feb. 27

VIDEO: Giants earn 40th victory in a 4-0 triumph over Victoria

G-Men move within a point of clinching the B.C. division banner at Friday’s at-home game in Langley

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Man sentenced to 7 years for smuggling drugs and shooting at border guards in Sumas

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford in 2013 after day-long manhunt

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Most Read

l -->