Lake Babine Nation (LBN) has accumulated approximately $10 million in debt from federal government loans since it started negotiating a treaty deal with B.C. and Canada in 1994.
Chief Wilf Adam said he might ask the federal government to forgive LBN’s debt.
“The idea is either negotiate or [ask them to] forgive the loan when the treaty negotiations are complete,” said Chief Adam. “Unfortunately, the way it’s going, it will take a longer time to reach the end [of treaty negotiations].”
However, during LBN’s annual general assembly on Nov. 2, 2016, Chief Adam said this request could happen before the end of treaty negotiations.
He said that if the federal government becomes involved in a 25-year agreement which currently being developed between LBN and the provincial government, then LBN may “drop” the treaty process and ask Canada to forgive the debt.
“We want the federal government involved [in the 25-year agreement],” said Chief Adam. “If the federal government gets involved with our 25-year agreement, then we will drop the treaty process all together; if Canada gets involved, we will ask them to eliminate the $10 million that we owe.”
The 25-year agreement, which outlines a series of immediate and long-term benefits to LBN, is expected to be completed by December 2016.