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September 1, 2023
When the Líl̓wat Nation and the N’Quatqua First Nation announced a unilateral five-week closure of Joffre Lakes Provincial Park with no notice, it was despite the fact that they had no legal authority to do so. Nonetheless, the B.C. government’s response was to quietly acquiesce, posting that the popular park was “currently inaccessible” and dispatching park officials to turn hikers away.
This follows years of policies that have increased decision-making powers for Indigenous governments and sought agreement on the management of public lands. However, as in any pluralistic society, the interests of different parties often differ and agreement cannot always be reached.
This is where democratic principles come into play.