Judge gives GTS order to organize

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Mark McEwan ordered the GTS to elect a new board of directors in his May 31 decision in a Vancouver court.

The Gitxsan Treaty Society has essentially received a clean slate by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Mark McEwan, when he ordered them to elect a new board of directors May 31 in a Vancouver court.

In his 25-page decision, McEwan gave the GTS 30 days to bring the organization into compliance with Section 85 of the B.C. Society Act.

It is yet to be determined if the GTS is a legal society and the organization has until June 25 to hold an extraordinary general meeting to appoint directors, which would settle the sec. 85 matter.

Beverley Clifton-Percival, GTS negotiator, is relieved a decision on sec. 85 has been reached.

“It’s a simple fix for the Society’s Act,” Clifton-Percival said.

“We’re just going to implement what we’d already set out to do.

“This is a good thing and will help us get organized.

“It is now entirely up to the Wilp members and chiefs to appoint representatives for the new GTS board.”

There are currently more than 40 GTS members and only they will be able to vote for the new 12 member board, Clifton-Percival said.

However, over the next two weeks any of the more than 7,000 Gitxsan can become a GTS member by being accepted by their head chief and filling out GTS paperwork.

There was potential for the GTS to be dissolved entirely, but that’s been avoided by this decision and the future of the Gitxsan Nation hangs in the balance, Neil J. Sterritt, lawyer representing the Gitxsan Nation in the Delgamuukw trial, said.

“If the board of directors and the chair don’t have the skills, experience and values to do the job that needs to be done then it will be business as usual,” Sterritt said.

“Last year’s assessment for forensic audit told us where we’re at and if things don’t change our future is in peril.”