Former Xeni Gwet’in Chief Roger William is seeking a third term as Cariboo Regional District Area J director. File image

Meet the candidate: CRD Area J (West Chilcotin) Roger William

CANDIDATE: Q&A

Roger William is seeking a third term as Area J director. He is the former long-time chief of Xeni Gwet’in (Nemiah Valley) and is married and has children. He has been very involved with the Tsilhqot’in rights and title case.

What do you think are the top issues for your CRD area?

Top issue for Area “J” would be wildfire and floods, communications (internet and phones and cellular service), First Nations relationship, emergencies, and transportation and access. If we don’t address, prioritize and take these issues seriously it will affect our opportunities and impact us all negatively.

Why do you want to be a CRD director?

I’m the first and only First Nations CRD director in the CRD’s 50-year history. I see benefits working with local governance and First Nations because we all live here and know our area, opportunities and needs. I want to run in this election to get stronger communications and First Nations relationship.

What previous experience do you bring to the table?

I was chief for my Xeni Gwet’in Community for 22 years and councillor six years, dealing with provincial and federal governments. I have been a CRD director for seven years now.

I have spent most of my career on the Xeni Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal Title and Rights Case in Supreme Court Of BC and Appeal and Supreme Court Of Canada.

I received an Honorary Degree Doctorate in Law from UNBC. I also believe in economic development and jobs, but it needs to be sustainable and not at the expense of our environment, water, land and resources.

I was big part of protecting Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) for our future and for many of our visitors that come year to year for over 20 years.

What would you do to attract and retain doctors in the Cariboo Regional District?

I would work with CRD directors, City Of Williams Lake, Quesnel, 100 Mile, Wells and advertise our beautiful Cariboo Chilcotin Area, and historic first and only Supreme Court Of Canada Recognized Aboriginal Indigenous Title Lands in the Cariboo Chilcotin. There is a lot of land, tourism, recreation…opportunities.

What are your ideas to keep rural communities thriving with strong economies?

Involve First Nations for natural resources economic development. Getting cell services and internet access to our regional rural areas. There is potential tourism and First Nations tourism opportunities.

Canada is legalizing the use of cannabis, and that being the case we need to look at this seriously for the safety and well being of our people. At the same time we should explore the economic business opportunities as either the safety issue and economy will not wait for us. We need to get involved now.

What role does the Cariboo Regional District play in relationship to all other levels of government, including First Nations governments, federal, provincial and municipal government?

CRD roles would be relationship building and communications and support and protecting Cariboo Chilcotin areas. Continue our C2C (Community to Community) meetings getting and coming from our grass roots, people and businesses. We have an awesome opportunity to show us all, and together through relationships, improve our CRD economy, working relationship and together give directions and proposals to B.C. and or Canada.

How has your area moved forward since the 2017 wildfires?

There has been a lot of involvement with provincial and federal governments, First Nations and local governments in the cities and towns and regional district area and looking at opportunities and recovering and utilizing and regrowth planning of burnt timber.

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