Introduction to the Treaty: Agreement in Principle Explained
The Agreement in Principle (AIP) negotiation gives the Gitga’at First Nation the opportunity to review all the issues that arise in Treaty. It’s also a first chance for Gitga’at, Canada and BC to set out many of the key objectives they want to accomplish through Treaty negotiations.
The following sections provide descriptions of all the topics that will be negotiated with Canada and BC through the Gitga’at Treaty negotiations, including the general categories of General Issues, Lands, Governance, Resource Management, Harvesting Rights, Fiscal Relations, and Procedures. Each of these general sections will be broken down into subject specific chapters of the Treaty. For example, Resource Management has Forest Resources, Water and Subsurface Resources chapters in it. The Agreement In Principle Explained includes summaries of all of the chapters in the Treaty.
A Note to the Reader
An important idea to understand when thinking about the Treaty is that governments are run using laws. To do almost anything, Canada, British Columbia, and Gitga’at First Nation must have a law that allows them to do it. In the last 60 years in Canada, it has become clear that First Nations have not been given their fair share of law making ability. A Treaty is an agreement that clarifies which areas of law that we should be able to make laws in. You will see that some paragraphs in the Treaty give Gitga’at First Nation the opportunity to make laws. Where it says this, Canada or British Columbia used to have the right to make laws, and that Right has been passed to Gitga’at First Nation. If we become a Treaty First Nation, then we will start making laws, and our government will be able to act in the way that those laws allow us to.
At some time, Canada, BC, and Gitga’at will probably try to make laws about the same thing, because we all believe that we have the right to make a law. The Treaty has identified areas of law where this could happen, and solves the problem by saying that one of Canada, BC, or Gitga’at First Nation have priority over that area of law. The laws of the government that is named in that part of the Treaty will be the laws that the other governments must follow.
Agreement in Principle Explained