Sabre rattling

This afternoon, two knowledgeable people separately asked me what I make of the recent sabre rattling by Jim Reynolds, the capable and tenacious lawyer for the Musqueam Indian Band.  It occurred on the front page of Wednesday’s Richmond News (Dec. 10, 2008) and on page 3 of Saturday’s Richmond Review (Dec. 13).

The context is that the next step in the Garden City Lands’ agreements is renegotiating* between the Canada Lands Company CLC, the Band, and the City of Richmond.

My view is that Mr. Reynolds is mainly taking a strong bargaining position. His initial position is that the City of Richmond should help his clients to get everything and that the City should go along with getting nothing for its citizens. That may seem preposterous, but it’s a smart approach to try in view of how the Band and CLC have consistently got their way. In that light, it’s easy to envision a City negotiator responding with something like this: “Yes, sir! And what else can we do for you?”

Harold Steves has also expressed an initial bargaining position, but his is not far-fetched. He has told the media that the City should get half the lands for $4.77 million, a highly defensible position. Beyond that, he wants to offer an additional $4.77 million for the rest and recognizes that the City might perhaps be forced to compromise on that.

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* This is a long footnote about the renegotiating step. CLC, the Band, and the City now all recognize that it is time to renegotiate under the MOU. Specifically, it is under Section 1(22), which states:

Musqueam, CLC and the City will meet to discuss the renegotiation of any understandings, arrangements or agreements between them with respect to the Garden City Property in order to give effect to the spirit of this MOU, to the extent possible, in the changed circumstances.

The phrases “to the extent possible” and “in the changed circumstances” are key. I should address the renegotiation-arbitration-restoration process more fully at some point in a separate post.

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