The Chief of the Musqueam Indian Band says the federal and provincial governments need to make an attitude adjustment before a treaty can be negotiated successfully.

Chief Ernie Campbell signed a framework agreement with governments on Monday – setting out treaty negotiation guidelines for the Musqueam and government representatives.


Chief Ernie Campbell (File photo)
The agreement has taken 12 years to reach, and represents the halfway mark in the process.

Campbell blames the slow pace on several court disputes over sale of Crown land claimed by the Musqueam.

"If you are selling land off, or transferring land and selling land in Musqueam's traditional territory – that should be on the table, while we are supposedly at the table talking about land," he says.

"When they are selling it off, that's not good faith negotiations. That has to change."

Campbell says land use is the key issue in the negotiations. And he notes that more than 200 members of his band are waiting for housing, because there is not enough land on which to build.

The Musqueam land is some of the most expensive property in Vancouver, overlooking the Fraser River.

Attorney General Geoff Plant acknowledges that negotiations have been difficult, but says Monday's signing is an important milestone

The next step is an agreement-in-principle, which the Tsawwassen and three other B.C. First Nations have already reached.