Katrine Conroy, Minister Responsible for the Columbia River Treaty, has issued the following statement after last week’s treaty negotiation meetings in Vancouver, B.C.:
“2018 has been an important year in the history of the Columbia River Treaty. This past spring, negotiators representing Canada (including B.C.) and the United States sat down together in Washington, D.C., to start talking about the future of the treaty and how it could be improved.
“After subsequent negotiation meetings in Nelson and Portland, this week the conversation resumed in Vancouver, where negotiators discussed a variety of topics, including flood-risk management, scientific information on ecosystems, energy co-ordination, and Libby Dam operations.
“This has also been a year in which the B.C. government has furthered its commitment to sustained engagement with Indigenous Nations affected by the Columbia River Treaty. We have been working closely with Canada and Columbia Basin Indigenous Nations to ensure that our common interests are addressed.
“We have also strengthened our engagement with communities in the Columbia Basin through a series of local meetings. While talks with the United States continue, it’s essential that communities in the basin are consulted and that we keep them informed and give them a chance to make their voices heard.”
The 1964 treaty is a binational Canada-U.S. agreement that governs the development and operation of transboundary dams in the upper Columbia River basin, providing both electricity and flood control. Negotiations undertaken earlier this year were criticized by First Nations leaders for failing to properly consult among affected Indigenous communities.
The next round of Columbia River Treaty negotiation meetings will take place in Washington, D.C., on February 27th and 28th, 2019.