Dan Smith (centre) at 2012 Economic Summit with former Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney (left) and Bill Benoit of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board.

Campbell River native leader elected chair of Island economic board

Named chair-elect of the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance and will become chair of the society in June

A First Nations leader from Campbell River is the new chair of the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance.

Dan Smith of the Campbell River Indian Band and executive member of the First Nations Summit has been named chair-elect of the Alliance and will become chair of the society in June.

“Dan Smith is broadly known and well-respected,” said Alliance president George Hanson. “He has served on the VIEA board for a number of years and we are fortunate to have someone of his broad experience as our chair.”

Smith has an extensive history of working with First Nations, aboriginal organizations and the federal government. His involvement has included serving as vice-president of the Native Council of Canada, president of the United Native Nations, member of the BC Human Rights Commission, as well as numerous other boards and committees.

He has worked in senior positions with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Heritage Canada, and Canada Employment and Immigration.

Recently, Smith served as chief negotiator for the Hamatla Treaty Society on Vancouver Island.

Smith was elected to the three-member political executive of the First Nations Summit, the Summit Task Group, in June 2008. The Task Group is authorized by the Summit to carry out specifically mandated tasks on issues related to treaty negotiations in B.C.

The First Nations Summit, which is comprised of a majority of First Nations and Tribal Councils in BC, provides a forum for First Nations in British Columbia to address issues related to Treaty negotiations as well as other issues of common concern.

Also continuing on the board are Colleen Evans, executive director of Campbell River Chamber of Commerce; Bill Benoit, Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and past chair; Rick Roberts of Parksville; Dr. Pedro Marquez, Dean of Business Management at Royal Roads University; Marianne Stolz of Capital Asset Group in Nanaimo; Gabrielle Wickstrom of Port McNeill; Russ Burke of Canadian Western Bank; Sandy Herle of Close To You Fashions in Parksville; Lisa de Leeuw of Coast Capital Savings; and Evan Parliament of Gagnon Strategix Consulting.