Christine Creyke, lands director for the Tahltan Central Government, was appointed to Canada’s gun advisory committee in February. (Tahltan Central Government photo)

B.C. Indigenous woman appointed to Canada’s gun advisory committee

First Nations and northern voices were both missing in discussions

Canada’s gun advisory committee now has Indigenous representation.

Christine Creyke, who is the lands director for the Tahltan Central Government (TCG) and manages environment, wildlife and resources throughout the territory, was appointed to the committee along with former B.C. Supreme Court judge and attorney general Wally Oppal as the committee’s new chair.

Creyke’s appointment marks the first time since 2017 that the CFAC has had Indigenous representation.

“Wallace Oppal and Christine Creyke add invaluable experience and expertise to this important work, and will help inform new measures to make our country less vulnerable to the scourge of gun violence, while being fair to responsible, law-abiding firearms owners and businesses,” says Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale in a press release.

The CFAC advises the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness on Canada’s firearms policies, laws and regulations. The 10-member group includes civilian firearms users, farmers, law enforcement officials, public health advocates and women’s organizations.

READ MORE: Feds eye tougher screening of gun owners for mental health, violence concerns

After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Geography from UNBC in 2006, Creyke pursued masters-level studies through the university’s Natural Resources and Environmental Studies program. She has experience in policy development for oil and gas, wildlife and hunting regulations, and is heavily involved with the Tahltan community.

Creyke was in Ottawa for the committee’s first meeting on Feb. 20, the fifth meeting since the CFAC was renewed in 2017.

She says she can help the committee’s direction on firearms issues to consider First Nations, northern and rural perspectives.

“I grew up in the North, I live my life in the North,” Creyke says. “Under my department, we deal with a lot of the hunting regulations and resident hunters in the territory. My family has a guide and outfitting business and I grew up in that kind of community.”

During her first meeting, she says the committee discussed changes in firearm storage that may come as a result of Bill C-71, a proposed federal bill would introduce new national gun legislation to enhance background checks, enforce mandatory recordkeeping requirements for retailers and tighten rules for travelling with firearms.

Risks associated with gun storage and theft in residential areas were topics Creyke could speak about from experience, especially in relation to how firearms can be used as protection for people living in rural communities with close proximity to wildlife.

“A lot of people’s perspectives were from urban settings and what that means for storing firearms and having those safety precautions in place because having firearms in residential areas is a big concern,” she says.

“But I was talking about safety from predators, like grizzly bears.”

Grizzly bears have been active in and around Tahltan communities later into what is normally their hibernation season.

TCG Wildlife Department issued a community notice last December that advised residents to be extra vigilant for “the potential of grizzly bears being out of hibernation throughout the winter,” and they were tracking three active bears in the territory.

Changing food sources and overpopulation of the backcountry are suspected to play a role in bears not having the fat stores to allow them to successfully hibernate. The bears are then likely going to be overly aggressive when looking for food, the notice read.

In this situation, firearms play a large role in ensuring people’s safety, Creyke says.

Last November, a teacher and her 10-month-old daughter were killed in a grizzly bear attack while at their cabin in the Yukon.

READ MORE: Mother killed in Yukon bear attack was passionate about nature, languages

“Having a firearm is part of my everyday life because of predators, and that’s where my safety perspective is coming from,” she says.

Issues surrounding missing and murdered Indigenous women, domestic violence and suicide rates are also areas that can disproportionately affect First Nations communities.

A 2018 Canada-wide study on national health inequalities found suicide rates were 6.5 times higher in places with a concentration of Inuit people and 3.7 times higher for First Nations people. Indigenous women in Canada are also 2.7 times more likely than non-Indigenous women to experience violence, according to Statistics Canada.

Creyke says these issues need to be considered when talking about the nation’s gun laws, areas she can provide significant perspective and insight on for fairer representation moving forward.

“From my perspective, there wasn’t a Northern voice on [CFAC], or a northern Aboriginal one,” she says. “If there are these data gaps, then what else should they be looking at and who else should they be speaking to?”

Both Creyke and Oppal will hold their committee positions for two-year terms.

*CORRECTION* An earlier version of this story misidentified the child killed by a grizzly bear last fall as 10 years old. She was 10 months old. We apologize for this mistake.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Victoria man finds out his song will be featured on American Idol after a rough morning

Mike Edel’s song ‘The Finish Line’ was featured on the hit show

West Shore RCMP, Search and Rescue, Langford Fire continue search for missing Langford man

31-year-old Joshua Bennett of Langford went missing on March 9

Saanich councillor questions why Victoria Mayor Helps would shut out public from amalgamation deliberations

Coun. Judy Brownoff says Saanich puts “high standard” on public engagement, openness and transparency.

Victoria-Saanich amalgamation discussions won’t be open to the public

The upcoming citizens’ assembly meetings will be held in camera

Red-tailed hawk’s own bill is killing him

‘Most birds with this syndrome will starve to death without treatment’

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Paramedic staff shortage at critical level: B.C. union

A number of units were out of service due to lack of staffing in Lower Mainland, union says

B.C. lottery winner being sued by Surrey co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

BIG READ: The two sides of the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery

The case for the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery Comox fisherman,… Continue reading

Fraser Health under fire again for taxiing homeless man from Langley to Hope

Patient sent to Hope shelter because a spot in the man’s home community couldn’t be located

Dead sea lion discovered on Hornby Island shoreline

Reports indicate animal was shot in the head

Celina Caesar-Chavannes quits Liberal caucus, sits as independent MP

The Whitby, Ont., MP has been a vocal supporter of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott

Most Read