Candidate for Cariboo Regional District Area J seat Roger William’s experience in First Nations government and in negotiating with senior levels of government is not scant.
But this is the first time William, a member of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, has run for a position on any municipal government.
William says he decided to run because he felt a First Nations and a Tsilqot’in voice was needed at the regional district level.
“With 22 years of leadership at Xeni Gwet’in, at the nation level working with local, regional and parliament governments I felt that I could contribute for better communications, better process not only for First Nations but for remote community members and the more general public.”
William says he thinks many residents in the area are on the “same page” but when it comes to the regional district and other levels of government relations could be improved and he believes he has the skills to do that.
He adds that he thinks he can contribute at the board table and assist other directors in thinking more broadly.
Areas of concern for William include land-use in Area J, emergency planning and communication.
“I believe sometimes government has put a plan in place that that has not really come from the local users,” he says of emergency planning.
He says he believes local government investing, involving and working together with Xeni Gwet’in, Tsilqot’in and First Nation people is the way forward.
William added that the anticipated decision by the B.C. Court of Appeal on the Xeni Gwet’in rights and title case will help create greater clarity on some land-use issues.