British Columbia picks new head of treaty commission

By on February 28, 2017


The provincial cabinet picked Celeste Haldane on Feb. 22, but the federal government must still approve the appointment. (Photo: UBC Board of Governors)
The provincial cabinet picked Celeste Haldane on Feb. 22, but the federal government must still approve the appointment. (Photo: UBC Board of Governors)

VICTORIA –The provincial government has picked a lawyer known for her work with the Musqueam First Nation to head the B.C. Treaty Commission.

The provincial cabinet picked Celeste Haldane on Feb. 22, but the federal government must still approve the appointment.

The chief commissioner’s position has been open for more than a year, and Haldane is currently the province’s acting chief commissioner.

It is expected she will hold the chief commissioner’s post for a three-year term.

The provincial government says Haldane has an extensive professional background in economic development, governance and policy development.

The commission was established to facilitate treaty negotiations between the federal and provincial governments and First Nations in B.C.

It is an independent body made up of five commissioners appointed by the federal government, the provincial government, and the First Nations Summit.

Last June, the provincial government announced plans to kick-start land-claim treaty talks with a series of reforms to speed up negotiations and produce more deals.

John Rustad, aboriginal relations and reconciliation minister, said at the time that an agreement between B.C., the federal government and the First Nations Summit, which represents most B.C. First Nations, sets the groundwork for smoother methods to negotiate more treaties in less time.

Rustad said new approaches to reach more deals quicker were needed to reinvigorate modern-day treaty talks in B.C. that had yielded only seven final agreements in 23 years.

The federal and B.C. governments and the First Nations Summit outlined plans to streamline and enhance the treaty process following talks that started in 2015.