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Indigenous leaders have high expectations for the lawyer and former chair of the First Nations Justice Council that he can turn the government’s symbolic gestures on reconciliation into action.
Since the B.C. NDP government passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act in 2019, it has been criticized for saying the right things about reconciliation but not following up on those words with action.
Doug White accepts that criticism and, in his new role as special counsel to the premier on Indigenous reconciliation, it’s his goal to ensure all ministries focus on structural changes that will make life better for Indigenous people.
“I’ve heard frustration from all sides,” White said of criticism that the act is more symbolic than concrete. “Nobody likes to be stuck in a performative sort of scenario. We need to collectively figure out the substantive pathway” to make sure the act leads to “on the ground changes.”