The future of B.C.'s first modern urban treaty is a little bit more secure today following the re-election of Kim Baird as chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation. Baird won by a sizeable margin last night, defeating challenger Bertha Williams, who has criticized the effect that the treaty will have on elderly residents.
The Tsawwassen First Nation is expected to vote this summer to ratify the treaty.
Hwlitsum First Nation, with the backing of the B.C. Union of Indian Chiefs, has asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper to delay federal ratification pending an analysis of its overlapping claim in the area.
Meanwhile, Conservative MP John Cummins has frequently criticized the provincial government for underestimating the value of the land transfer.
Under the agreement, the Tsawwassen First Nation would receive approximately $35 million plus 724 hectares of land, some of which is expected to be removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve, thereby increasing its value.
Scroll down to see the news release issued today by the Tsawwassen First Nation:
March 28, 2007 TSAWWASSEN FIRST NATION RE-ELECTS KIM BAIRD AS CHIEF TSAWWASSEN -
The Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN) re-elected Chief Kim Baird last night. An official count today showed Chief Baird won by a vote of 87 to 43.
"The election represents the will of the community," Chief Baird said. "I am gratified and humbled by the results."
"Now I can focus my attention to the ratification of the treaty. There is much work to do and I am excited to be able to get on with it," she said.
First elected as Chief in 1999, this is Baird's fifth term as Chief of the First Nation reserve.
She also served as chief negotiator during the nation's 15-year struggle to bring home a treaty for the Tsawwassen people.
On Dec. 8, 2006, history was made as the first urban treaty in the Lower Mainland was initialed.
On July 25, 2007, the Tsawwassen people will vote to ratify or reject the treaty. Eighty per cent of eligible on-reserve voters cast their ballots last night.
Also elected to TFN Council were Andrew Bak, Laura Cassidy (incumbent), Andrea Jacobs (incumbent) and Remo Williams.