The provincial minister in charge of the Columbia River Treaty file says discussions surrounding renegotiating the historic document are being done in good faith.
Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy recently met with representatives from Canada and the U-S to discuss updating the treaty at the 2018 Pacific North West Economic Summit in Spokane.
She says environmental issues need to be addressed when working towards a new pact.
“The initial negotiations have been discussions, just general discussions. We know from our perspective that the environment and the ecosystem have to be part of the discussions. When the treaty was formed the only discussions were around power generation and flood control.”
Conroy feels the deal has been more favourable to the US so far.
She adds discussions towards updating are taking a wide focus.
“We have concerns about water levels [in the Columbia Basin]. The work the Americans have done on fish restoration has been very important, and we recognize that. We want to try to ensure we can get the fish back up here [in BC].”
Conroy toured the West Kootenay with some US representatives who were able to speak with residents to gauge how their lives have been impacted by the treaty.
The deal was established in 1964 as a means to establish guidelines for flood control and power generation for communities on both sides of the border which interface with the Columbia River.
The current pact is set to expire in 2024.
– Katrine Conroy – Minister of Children and Family Development