VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - June 13, 2013) - With the recent appointment of Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, John Rustad, last week's election of the First Nations Summit Task group and the February appointment of Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Bernard Valcourt, the Treaty Commission today congratulates these leaders and looks forward to seeing a new dynamic in treaty negotiations.

"This is a significant time for First Nations in British Columbia, and treaty completion must be a priority. I look forward to working with these newly appointed leaders and achieving successes together," said Sophie Pierre, chief commissioner of the British Columbia Treaty Commission.

Pierre adds, "I would like to congratulate Grand Chief Edward John, Cheryl Casimer and Robert Phillips on their election to a three-year term as the Political Executive of the First Nations Summit. There is much important work that lies ahead for us, and I am confident in these leaders who are all respected advocates for First Nations in BC and beyond. I'd especially like to acknowledge Robert Phillips for over six years of service as a Commissioner with the Treaty Commission. The experience he has gained as a Commissioner will serve him very well going forward as a Task Group member."

"We welcome Minister Rustad and the fact that he comes from a riding with a significant number of First Nations. We expect that this will contribute to his early understanding of the issues facing Aboriginal communities, and the high priority that needs to be given to treaties," adds Pierre.

The Commission points out that while pursuing its economic agenda, the province must remember that meaningfully involving and working with First Nations is key to advancing resource development that will bring certainty and future prosperity to the province. Working towards accelerated treaty negotiations and concluding treaties is of economic benefit to First Nations, industry and all British Columbians.

Chief Commissioner Pierre concludes, "I look forward to working with the Principals and Commission for an additional two years. There is a lot that we can and will accomplish."

About the BC Treaty Commission

The Treaty Commission is the independent body responsible for overseeing treaty negotiations among the governments of Canada, BC and First Nations in BC. It has three roles: facilitation, funding, and public information and education. Visit to learn more about the Treaty Commission.

Contact Information:

BC Treaty Commission
Brenna Latimer
Director of Communications