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By John Weston 01 Nov, 2017
I am delighted that Powell River and the Tla’amin Nation have received public recognition of their healthy relationship (“BC Treaty Commission praises Tla’amin Nation relations”, Chris Bolster, Sept 27, 2017; http://www.prpeak.com/news/bc-treaty-commission-praises-tla-amin-nation-relations-1.23025932) . The story rightly reflects the hard work and goodwill of specific individuals, such as Chief Clint Williams, Mayor Dave Formosa, and former Mayor Stewart Alsgard. As former MP for Powell River, I observed firsthand the healthy relationship between Chief, Mayor, and Regional District and worked closely with them. Among other things, we together precipitated unprecedented amounts of Federal government cooperation and investment in Powell River.

However, it’s a pity that in Indigenous Affairs, things tend to be painted in black-and-white tones. Nuances and middle ground become the victim of polarized thinking. Leaders and media find themselves speaking half-truths that undermine good, long-term results.

So it was in Chief Williams’ stating that, as former MP, I “was blocking the First Nation’s attempts at communicating with the Federal Government”. That is just wrong. In fact, Chief Williams initially brought me into the discussion when a fisheries issue was impeding progress on the Treaty negotiation. As a member of the Fisheries Committee and a consistent supporter of treaty-making in general, I sought and got a resolution to that issue that allowed progress on the Tla’amin Treaty.

In its March 31, 2014 issue, the Powell River Peak covered the townhall discussion in Powell River, when residents and I discussed my concern, that the Treaty states Tla’amin Law will in some situations prevail over Canadian law (“Weston speaks against the treaty,” Dean Unger, http://www.prpeak.com/news/weston-speaks-against-treaty-1.2209724) . Throughout my career as a lawyer in Indigenous Affairs and as a politician, I have consistently stood up for equality and human rights. We should never allow the law of any community, religious group, or Aboriginal group to prevail over Canadian law. The unity of our country, its peace, order, and good government, and the equal rights of Canadians depend on our being governed by one law, equal for all, regardless of race, colour, or creed. While our Constitution, the Indian Act, and court decisions have led us in other directions, we as Canadians need vigorously to pursue equality whenever we get the chance.

As MP and as Member of the Minister’s Caucus Advisory Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, I supported the Treaty, but not the “inequality” provision. I did express these views to the Prime Minister and the Minister. As elaborated in my recent book (On! Achieving Excellence in Leadership; johnweston.ca) Equality is at the centre of real, long-term reconciliation between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people. For the long-term peace, order, and good government of our country, and for the benefit of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people, we Canadians ought at every turn to promote Equality in treaties, words, and deeds.

The piece ran as a letter to the editor in the Powell River Peak's Oct 4, 2017 edition.
By John Weston 01 Jun, 2017
Thank you for coming.  I’m honored to be your Master of Ceremonies for Bike Day on Parliament Hill today.Ottawa’s renowned hotel, the Chateau Laurier, was built in 1908.  The architects from the Montreal Firm Ross & McFarlane designed it to reflect the grandeur of our Parliament Buildings.  Their work continues to inspire our nation, just as it inspired the design of many other buildings in the city.In this 150th anniversary of Canada’s founding, we’re reminded that we’re building a nation. 
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What People Are Saying....

Rod Senft

 Managing Partner, Tricor Pacific Capital Inc.

“As a lawyer myself , I have been on both sides of the solicitor-client equation. I have been on the Management Committee of a Major Law Firm and a client, as Managing Partner of one of Western Canada’s leading Private Equity Funds. I believe clients want a determined, highly skilled professional advocate with well educated mind. Having seen John in action as my Member of Parliament, I know clients will get the benefit of these qualities with him as their lawyer.” 

Sganisim Simaugit 

Chief Mountain 

“My Nisga’a Eagle tribal name is Sganisim Simaugit Sagaween, also known as Chief Mountain.  

I first met John around 1999. He came into my life firstly as a lawyer who represented us in the British Columbia courts with the “Chief Mountain Challenge” to provisions of the Nisga’a Treaty.  

I liked John right away and he soon became a trusted friend. In early 2000 the Chief Mountain Wilp (Tribal House) adopted John as an honorary member of our Tribal Wilp. John’s Tribal House name is “Ama Dax Gadum Algahum Skag” - “Talking Eagle”. 

I believe John Weston is a man with a good heart for everyone. I support and stand beside him with full confidence.”

David Waines

Vancouver Businessman

“When he served as a Member of Parliament, John put together a powerful plan to assist me when I was in a very tough spot in Africa. He worked well with a wide variety of partners, keeping the priorities straight, exercising diplomatic skills, and intelligently communicating messages that made all the difference in assisting me. He has an innate understanding of Government Relations.”  

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