I join with thousands of British Columbians today in mourning the passing of George Watts.
George was a leader of enormous integrity and commitment to First Nations at the national level, through his leadership of the Assembly of First Nations, and the provincial level through his leadership of the First Nations Summit. George also contributed significantly to the struggle for aboriginal and human rights at the international level.
Through his efforts, BC saw progress toward the resolution of First Nations treaties. George was a key player in the formation of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, and as chief negotiator for the Maa-nulth, Mr. Watts was critical in moving the negotiations process forward, signing an Agreement in Principle.
It is unfortunate that George will not be able to bear witness to the culmination of his work.
George's integrity and commitment to our province was illustrated over his decades of service to First Nations and non-aboriginal communities.
His vision of a province where we all benefit, and where a diversity of voices is heard is a vision shared by my party.
British Columbia is a fairer, more just place because of his tireless pursuit of social equality and the rights of First Nations.
He will be sorely missed.