In November 2019, the BC Government unanimously passed legislation on Indigenous human rights.
“This historic legislation – passed by all MLAs – will ensure that there is a framework to enhance reconciliation,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “The Surrey Board of Trade, as Surrey’s city-building and inclusive business organization congratulates the BC Government for their leadership on this, in Canada.”
Surrey has the highest urban Indigenous population in British Columbia.
“Now, the BC Government, in its evaluation of Surrey’s police transition, has an obligation to collaborate and consult with First Nation communities, especially on such a significant public safety infrastructure shift that impacts their economic development and livability in Surrey.”
The provincial legislation is designed to ensure that all BC laws are consistent with the 46 articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The legislation was developed in collaboration with the First Nations Leadership Council at the direction of First Nations.
There is a requirement for all projects on Indigenous territories to receive consent from those communities.
The notice of motion delivered by City of Surrey Councillor Brenda Locke noted the following:
The Semiahmoo and Katzie First Nations advise that there has been no consultation with them regarding any possible transition to a Surrey Police Force by the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia or the City of Surrey; Be it resolved that: The existing process being followed to consider transition from the RCMP to a Surrey Police Force be immediately suspended until a sufficient, respectful and transparent consultation process that meets the federal, provincial and municipal obligations to consult with our First Nations peoples affected by the proposed changes has been adopted.