Evidence of meeting #26 for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was first.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Robert Louie  Chairman, First Nations Lands Advisory Board
  • Austin Bear  Chair, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre
  • Graham Powell  Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre
  • Elizabeth Childs  Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre
  • Patti Wight  Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre
  • Ruth Nahanee  Senior Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre
  • Daniel Millette  Manager, Strategic Planning, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

4:25 p.m.

Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Elizabeth Childs

I'm bursting at the seams.

It is exciting. It is exciting in terms of the mentoring piece. Currently, the mentoring is done very much in a face-to-face setting, and the resource centre staff provide support for people who are coming in. One of our colleagues, Meko Nicholas, who is not here, has a very clear chart that shows, if you would like, here are the steps to go through. But moving into our online community space, that's the place where we're hoping to be able to partner and pair operational first nations, who may have a similar context or close enough that they would be willing to share and mentor, and groups that are coming in that are new.

Then, of course, people who are able to come in, as these new 18 are, they have access to all of these resources. So there's a courselet that's an introduction to the framework agreement, what it is, why it exists, and what it means for individuals. There's a courselet on the developmental process and all of the steps in the developmental process to get to a land code and get to operational first nation status.

They have access to all of those resources, and right now the blend is—

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

Sorry, how do they have access to them?

4:25 p.m.

Advisor, Capacity Building, Training and Professional Development, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Elizabeth Childs

As soon as they're part.... The 18 that are new, for example, we find out from them who their lands manager or governance director designate is, and they're issued a user name and password.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

So I guess my question, Elizabeth, is this. How does a community—I hate to use this word but—“cold call” this process? We want to find out about this. There's some lead-in time. I understand all of that and the department is committed to looking at who's entry-ready and whatnot.

As well, Graham, what are the typical timelines? The capacity for entrants notwithstanding, just in terms of plain readiness to do this, what do you typically find? Sorry, that's a couple of questions.

4:25 p.m.

Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Graham Powell

I'm just going to come back to an earlier question and just finish that. In Chief Louie's letter to Minister Duncan, with respect to the signing ceremony of the 18 so that they could sign the adhesion document to the framework agreement, Chief Louie suggested that on this occasion if we had a two-day session, we would be able to sit down with the 18 new first nations and run them through the whole developmental process, all of the 45 steps roughly that are in the community voting procedure requirement. We would show them what we've shown you here and identify how to access it. We would use that as a learning opportunity for those that would be new, rather than just signing the adhesion document and sending them back out.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

I'm talking more about potential entrants than I am the actual entrants. I know I haven't got much—

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

You don't have any time unfortunately, but we will get back.

Absolutely, you may complete the answer.

4:25 p.m.

Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Graham Powell

Just to finish that answer, and Chief Louie and Chief Bear will step in, the position of the Lands Advisory Board and the resource centre is that any first nation is ready right now the minute it wants to come in. We're not gatekeepers. The regional LAB directors are always recommending first nations that have come to them to say they want in. We recognize that it's their inherent right to manage their lands.

From the department's perspective, because of limited resources, the department has had to apply a readiness test. Obviously you can't be in third-party management or co-management, but every first nation is ready, if it says it wants to manage its lands and get out of the Indian Act.

So that's how we term readiness. It's the first nation's wish.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Thank you for that. Thank you very much.

Mr. Genest-Jourdain for five minutes.

March 1st, 2012 / 4:30 p.m.

NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain Manicouagan, QC

Good afternoon, everyone.

I familiarized myself with the document that came with your appearance today. Under the framework agreement, Canada seems to have obligations and responsibilities.

Is it possible to do an overview and point out the enforcement power in the framework agreement, the power that binds the parties, by which I mean the communities and the government?

4:30 p.m.

Executive Director, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Dr. Graham Powell

I'm just trying to determine what the constraints might be.

4:30 p.m.

Chairman, First Nations Lands Advisory Board

Chief Robert Louie

I'm not sure I completely understand the question. If I understand it correctly, the question focuses in on what Canada's obligations to assist first nations to proceed are.

It falls back to our framework agreement that was signed back in 1996. That has been supported and ratified by the 1999 First Nations Land Management Act legislation. The principles are basically there. Canada's real responsibilities are to assist by adequately resourcing the framework agreement signatories. That's the main objective, and of course, getting the orders in council in place to allow the first nations in.

You've heard our perspective. We would open the doors willingly to all the first nations in Canada if they wished to join, and many do. One out of five first nations in Canada wish to participate or are participating. Our problem, of course, is finding the resources, and that is Canada's responsibility. Canada's main responsibility is to allocate resources so that we can have those first nations in the developmental, and subsequently, the operational phases.

4:30 p.m.

NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain Manicouagan, QC

Your remarks raised several issues of a legal nature. You are talking to a lawyer at the moment. Among other things, I was wondering about the legislative drafting; in terms of land administration and management, what is the actual nature of the information given to the members of the community, legally speaking?

It's just that you need a three-year law degree, plus another year before being called to the bar, in order to be able to handle concepts of land management. It takes specialized, in-depth knowledge, you see.

What is the actual nature of the information given to the members of the community, legally speaking?

4:30 p.m.

Chairman, First Nations Lands Advisory Board

Chief Robert Louie

We have resource personnel, who are the legal people, if you will, and we are supported by them at both the developmental and the operational levels. So if a question arises from a legal point of view—legalities of environment, legalities of law-making, or how one goes about that—we are assisted by the professional legal people, who will answer those questions. It's monitored.

When a first nation goes through the voting process, we have a verifier, who represents both Canada and the first nation, to ensure that the proper protocols and procedures outlined in the framework agreement are followed. That's very carefully done to avoid appeals by any members from a first nation community who might vote.

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain Manicouagan, QC

In terms of the legislative drafting, whether it be about the land code or the regulations that might apply in a community, do your member organizations have the ability to manage everything in the drafting from a to z or will you contract it out? Is there someone in your organization who will ultimately take care of everything related to the drafting of the official and legal documents?