Sunday, April 27, 2008

Vancouver Sun Says Municipal & Provincial Govts Should Negotiate....

....Over Expropriation of Pacific Spirit Park's Heart

From the VSun's somewhat schizophrenic Friday Apr 25th, 2008 editorial titled 'Musqueam Land Transfer Lawsuit Is A Waste Of Taxpayers' Money':

First they lay out the facts:

Metro Vancouver has decided to launch a constitutional challenge against the backroom deal Premier Gordon Campbell negotiated last November to hand over large tracts of land to settle lawsuits brought by the Musqueam First Nation.

Under the agreement, the Musqueam band was given two parcels of land in Pacific Spirit Park as well as the University Golf Course lands and the site of the River Rock Casino in Richmond -- in all, about 88 hectares -- along with $20.3 million in cash. In exchange, the Musqueam agreed to drop its three lawsuits and allow the golf course to operate until 2083.

Within days of the disclosure of the plan, Metro Vancouver's parks committee raised objections to the park-lands portion of the transaction, 22 hectares worth more than $200 million, citing the importance of preserving parks for the public.

Then they tell us how the Provincial government did it, and the egregious steps they took to make sure that the Municipal Governments involved wouldn't be able to do anything to stop it.

When the provincial government passed the Musqueam Reconciliation, Settlement and Benefits Agreement Implementation Act, the die was cast for confrontation. The legislation gave the province the authority to seize the land, adding that "no compensation is payable to the Greater Vancouver Regional District . . . and no legal proceedings for damages or compensation" can be filed against the B.C. government.

Then they tell us how the Municipal governments are responding.

Metro Vancouver's board of directors said on Monday that it will ask the court to decide whether the province has the constitutional authority to expropriate land, specifically regional government assets, to settle aboriginal title and lands claims which, it argues, fall under federal jurisdiction.

Then they tell us that the Municipal government has good reason to be upset, particularly given the precedent this expropriation sets and because the Provincial government has said one thing and done the exact opposite on this issue:

It's easy to sympathize with Metro Vancouver's position. After all, when it took office, the government assured municipal authorities that regional parkland was not on the table for settlement. Now it appears that it is, and that should raise concerns in every municipality in British Columbia.

Then, after telling us at some length how badly the Provincial government has treated the Municipal governments on this and a host of other issues, the VSun finishes up with the following :

What is needed to resolve this impasse is not a court ruling, but rather a political accommodation. The only way to reach one is for the parties to sit down together and work it out.

But here's the thing......

Why would anyone (ie. the Municipal Gov'ts) in their right mind sit down and 'work things out' with someone (ie. the Provincial Gov't) that has already proven that they will act with duplicity.

After all, anything 'worked out' with someone who can't be trusted to do what they say they will do is worth less than zero.

Way less.



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