The Lheidli T’enneh people are at a crossroad. No matter what the outcome of the vote, it will be the start of a new future. We can choose to continue on the path we are currently on, explore new options to pursue greater autonomy and economic prosperity, or we can embrace the certainty created by the Final Agreement and use the tools provided through the Agreement to move forward now.
Lheidli T’enneh will vote to determine whether or not to accept the Final Agreement. In order to accept the Final Agreement, at least 50% + 1 of all enroled voters must vote in favour. This is called an absolute majority. For example, Lheidli T’enneh has approximately 402 eligible voters over the age of 16. If all enrol, 50% + 1 means at least 202 would have to vote “yes” in order for the Final Agreement to be accepted.
What happens if Lheidli T’enneh vote “yes”?
If we accept the Final Agreement through our vote, the governments of BC and Canada would then ratify it. Both will create legislation to give the Final Agreement legal entity on a mutually-agreed date.
The effective date is likely to be set for a few years away to give Lheidli T'enneh time to prepare.
What happens if Lheidli T’enneh vote “no”?
The federal mandate related to the Final Agreement is expected to expire in October 2016. After this, the Final Agreement will no longer be an option for Lheidli T’enneh.
If Lheidli T’enneh does not ratify the Final Agreement, there are a number of different paths forward to consider. For more information on these options, please refer to the fact sheet titled: Alternative Paths. Lheidli T’enneh will also need to address repayment of the negotiation support loan.
If the Final Agreement is ratified, how will it be implemented?
Once it is ratified by all three parties, a future date will be picked for it to become effective and the implementation plan that was negotiated in 2007 will be finalized and initiated. The implementation plan identifies each party’s obligations and responsibilities in implementing the treaty.
Who will implement this plan?
An implementation committee, made up of a representative from Lheidli T’enneh, Canada, and British Columbia, will be established to oversee the implementation plan.
Will all parts of the Agreement be implemented at the same time?
Some parts of the Agreement will be implemented on the day that the Final Agreement comes into effect or shortly thereafter. Other parts, such as taxation provisions, will be implemented according to a schedule over a number of years. Some other parts of the Final Agreement may not be implemented until a later date to be determined by the parties.
Can the Lheidli T’enneh government begin to make laws once the Final Agreement takes effect?
Yes. The Final Agreement says that the Lheidli T’enneh government will be able to make laws on matters connected to the land, resources and other areas of governance that are set out in the Agreement.
Will the Indian Act still apply?
If the Final Agreement is enacted, the Indian Act will no longer apply, after the effective date, to Lheidli T’enneh, its lands or members, with the exception of determining Indian status. Instead, constitutionally-protected, self-government provisions of the Final Agreement will enable Lheidli T’enneh to make its own decisions on matters related to the exercise of its treaty rights and the operation of its government. Existing bylaws and laws enacted under the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation Land Code will continue.
Health, education exceptions: The Final Agreement has no effect on Indian status and the federal government must still fund First Nations under treaty, and still keep track of who is eligible for Indian status.
- Under treaty, any members of Lheidli T’enneh eligible for Indian status will continue to receive extended health benefits
- Funding for post-secondary education will continue for Status Indians. Other revenues may provide opportunities to extend these benefits to non-Status members.