Chemainus businessman Chris Istace has apologized for a remark about First Nations gaming grants. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Chemainus businessman Chris Istace has apologized for a remark about First Nations gaming grants. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Green Party’s Istace apologizes for remark about First Nations gaming grants being a ‘handout’

Island candidate determined to do better in thinking and communicating matters of reconciliation

Chemainus businessman Chris Istace, a BC Green Party candidate in Nanaimo-North Cowichan for the Oct. 24 provincial election, is apologizing for referring to First Nations gaming grants as “handouts” during a Gabriola Island virtual all-candidates debate.

“I unreservedly apologize for using the term handouts and the harm it has caused,” Istace noted in a statement. “I apologized immediately when I realized I had made a mistake and I have learned from this experience. I will do better.

“I do not think that revenue sharing is a ‘handout.’ First Nations deserve that money and far more.”

Related: Green Party pins Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding hopes on Istace

During the debate, the question was raised of how to handle situations where energy projects like TMX, LNG and Site C have been primarily opposed by First Nations communities, but somewhat supported. Istace answered there’s a need to act on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA) and provide First Nations the tools to gain economic sovereignty rather than projects imposed by coercive means.

Doug Routley spoke about the seven per cent of gaming revenue the NDP government (supported by the Greens) agreed to share with First Nations for the next 23 years.

When offered a chance to rebut, Istace indicated he stands by the need to let First Nations govern themselves and have true economic independence and a system handing over money wasn’t solving the root of the problem. He used the word ‘handout’ when referring to the program, and Routley said the gaming revenue wasn’t a ‘handout’ and he believed sharing the gaming revenue was enough for First Nations to build economic independence.

“The comment I made was meant to call out the token efforts of the BC NDP in reconciliation, not to belittle the struggles and strengths of First Nations,” elaborated Istace. “Pretending seven per cent gaming revenue shares from profits made on stolen land is enough in light of all the damage and intergenerational trauma colonialism has and continues to put them through shows a lack of understanding of the depths of that damage.

“In addition to the gaming revenue, the provincial government should be working collaboratively with First Nations to develop sustainable economic projects that will help build local economies,” Istace added. “The way the NDP have treated reconciliation is similar in my eyes to the promise of a one time $1,000 cheque to all voters. Absolutely, this money will help people. But it won’t fix the problem of systemic inequality.”

He went on to say allowing RCMP to point sniper rifles at unarmed land defenders immediately after passing DRIPA can’t be fixed with money and refusing to negotiate with the Wet’suwet’en until billions of dollars was lost in trade and the entire fight became an international issue is not reconciliation.

“I care deeply about solving these issues,” Istace indicated. “I do not think that words and money are enough. We need collaborative, systemic solutions to the systemic inequities faced by First Nations.

“If I have made further mistakes in my thinking and communicating about reconciliation, I am here to listen and learn. I will not shy away from any personal contact on this matter. I am determined to do better.”

BC politicsBC Votes 2020Indigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Chris Istace is the BC Green Party candidate for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Chris Istace is the BC Green Party candidate for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. (Photo by Don Bodger)

BC Green Party candidate Chris Istace on the ferry to Gabriola Island for some campaigning. (Photo submitted)

BC Green Party candidate Chris Istace on the ferry to Gabriola Island for some campaigning. (Photo submitted)

Chris Istace campaigning at the Gabriola Island Farmers’ Market. (Photo submitted)

Chris Istace campaigning at the Gabriola Island Farmers’ Market. (Photo submitted)

Just Posted

(Village of Sayward)
Sayward elects new mayor and two council members

New mayor-elect Mark Baker and council members will be sworn in on Dec. 1.

The Strathcona Regional District received Safe Restart funding from the provincial government. File photo
SRD receives provincial safe restart funding

Allocation of funds to be determined by staff

Jessi Vanderveen (left), healthyway Assistant supplements manager, and Tara Jordan, CR KidStart Coordinator,  announce that Healthyway Natural Foods will match in-store donations to John Howard KidStart on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, up to $1,000. Photo contributed
Help John Howard KidStart on Giving Tuesday

John Howard KidStart needs your help this Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1. Two… Continue reading

Pathway To Freedom, a non-profit society based in Surrey, wants to open two men’s addiction recovery houses in Campbell River as early as next April. Metro Creative photo
Two new addictions recovery houses could be on their way to Campbell River

‘I just want to help. That’s my hometown. And enough is enough.’

Ian Baikie shows the new booths at the Harbourside Inn restaurant space, which is being converted to a community kitchen for Campbell River’s population of vulnerable people. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
PHOTOS: New community kitchen coming to Campbell River

Kitchen will provide a safe, warm place for vulnerable population to eat in downtown core

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

Most Read