CUPE BC and HEU are urging their members to stand in solidarity with the First Nations by saying no to the Liberal governments referendum on treaty rights.
The Campbell government has sent a referendum ballot to all BC voters, asking them to determine the future of aboriginal treaty-making in the province. The ballot asks voters if they agree to eight statements, including: The existing tax exemptions for Aboriginal people should be phased-out and Private property should not be expropriated for treaty settlements.
The process has been dubbed the treaty referendumb by unions and other organizations that have chastised the government for subjecting the rights of a minority to the will of the majority. First Nations have inherent rights that are recognized and affirmed in the Constitution Act.
Dont participate in this shameful sham, says CUPE BC president Barry ONeill, in urging the provinces 65,000 CUPE members not to participate in the referendum. HEU is urging its 45,000 members to vote no to the eight-question referendum ballot.
BCs First Nations state the $9 million referendum is morally repugnant and are urging voters to send their unmarked ballots to band councils instead of Victoria.
Right-wing pollster Angus Reid recently called treaty referendum one of the most amateurish, one-sided attempts to gauge the public will that he has ever seen.
Residents have until May 15 to mail their ballots, but the Campbell government says it will only be bound by a yes vote.