VICTORIA (March 28, 2019) – Kamloops MLAs are demanding the NDP intervene in a decision to move historical documents from the Kamloops Land Title Office to Victoria— a choice that will result in direct and indirect job losses, the elimination of local expertise, and potential damage to critical, original title records.
“Government has been less than forthright about this issue, sidestepping actions that should precede such a decision, despite a clear obligation that the Land Title and Survey Authority had to consult First Nations,” said Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone. “The records in the Kamloops office serve a quarter of the province and provide necessary information for numerous groups. Now, all of these groups and individuals will have to route through Victoria, increasing costs and timelines. It is becoming increasingly clear that this government does not care about rural British Columbians, their livelihoods, or preserving local knowledge.”
When asked about this decision in the Legislature today, Doug Donaldson, the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development brushed off the rightful concerns put forth by numerous MLAs and reinforced through correspondence from three First Nations chiefs. After repeated questions from the Opposition highlighting his ignorance on the file, Donaldson reluctantly agreed to look into whether the Land Title and Survey Authority had the obligation to consult First Nations before moving these records.
“The minister and the NDP claim to be champions for First Nations, yet here is a case where they simply contradict their own talking points,” said Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Peter Milobar. “There was no consultation with First Nations, local officials, or other regional governments— just another arbitrary decision that makes no sense. After two years in power, you would think this minister would have a handle on his file. Yet today’s question period proved quite the opposite.”
“Thousands of transactions are done annually in the Kamloops Land Title Office and the records kept there cover a considerable regional footprint that staff in Victoria are simply not knowledgeable about,” added Milobar. “What is even more questionable is that the Kamloops office was recently renovated to include a climate-controlled vault for the safekeeping of records. So why suddenly move these precious documents away from the region and local First Nations?”