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Government Commitments to Truth and Reconciliation

Haida Gwaii Agreement: Most say it was right decision, but oppose it as precedent going forward

June 5, 2024

 Those living in BC’s Interior nearly twice as likely to oppose agreement as those in Metro Vancouver

ANGUS REIDL June 5, 2024 – When the B.C. government announced a historic agreement with the Haida Nation that would see Indigenous title recognized across Haida Gwaii, Premier David Eby said it could provide a template for future land agreements with the provinces’ Indigenous Peoples.
New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds most saying the ground-breaking agreement should be a one-off rather than a standard. While most (55%) believe the government made the “right decision”, fewer (30%) also say the Haida Gwaii title agreement “should be a precedent for more land transfers”. Instead, a majority say either it was the right decision, but should not be repeated (25%), or it was wrong and should not have happened (29%). One-in-six British Columbians have no firm view of the issue (16%).
As the rhetoric ramps up for the fall election, these data denote disagreement across political lines. A majority (57%) of those who say they would support the BC Conservatives if an election were held believe it was the wrong decision for the provincial government to make the agreement with Haida Nation. Likely BC United supporters are divided between saying it was “right” (48%) and wrong (39%). At the other end of the political spectrum, at least half of likely BC NDP (47%) and BC Green voters (51%) say not only was it the right decision, but it should be a model for future land agreements with Indigenous Peoples.
This agreement comes as few British Columbians – one-in-20 (5%) – believe Indigenous issues and reconciliation is a top issue the province is facing. Instead, a plurality (42%) believe Eby and the BC NDP are “too focused” on reconciliation, possibly to the detriment of focusing on housing affordability and the economy more broadly. More than two-in-five (44%) say the B.C. government has not put enough effort into encouraging investment in the province and half (53%) say it should be focusing more on addressing the province’s housing needs.

More Key Findings:

  • The Interior may prove a key battleground as the province’s political landscape shifts. There, half (52%) say the province has focused too much on reconciliation. A plurality on the Island/North Coast (40%) and in the Lower Mainland (44%) agree.
  • A majority of British Columbians who identify as Indigenous (54%) want the agreement between Haida Nation and the government to set the precedent for future land agreements. Meanwhile, two-in-five (39%) believe the government is spending the right amount of resources on reconciliation, while one-in-four (23%) disagree and believe the government needs to do more on that file. 

Link to the poll here: