Evidence of meeting #34 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 lands.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

How did people take the idea of different forms of land ownership?

4:35 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

I would say that compared with some other first nations I've seen that have land claims and settlements, we didn't have per se the mass squatting or people moving ahead of the first nation. I guess you could basically say that there were people moving out and claiming spots, and so forth. Right now we have about 31 temporary land-use permits that we're going to look at trying to introduce long term, and those are just for community members.

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

They're for band members. Okay.

There was another interesting thing. There was mention of some land sales, and then you met with the Minister of Natural Resources, and no more land will be sold in the future.

Was that...?

4:35 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

Those are lands outside of the reserve boundary, which is basically what we claim as our traditional lands. There's no land claim or anything in place. That's dealing with those types of issues.

The lands and natural resources committee was established mainly for the land code, but because we have such a group, we expanded them to include the traditional lands. There were some areas that.... As part of an MNR process, we identified all of our traditional land values in those areas, the crown lands along the Mississagi River system. They have those. When they wanted to do land sales, they basically came to us and consulted. We're still working on a process.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Thank you very much, Mr. Cada and Mr. Bevington.

We'll turn to Mr. Wilks now for five minutes.

May 3rd, 2012 / 4:35 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Thanks, Chair.

Thanks, James and Keith, for being here today. It's a pleasure for us to have you here.

I want to focus on your 2010 annual report. I'll leave the answers open to whoever wants to answer them. Your 2010 annual report makes reference to the Mississauga First Nation's land and resource committee and the land and resources unit. As I understand it, this is an advisory board that reports back to chief and council and from there moves forward.

Can you tell me what type of land management administration your first nation has in place and what you foresee moving forward?

4:35 p.m.

Lands and Resources Manager, Mississauga First Nation

Keith Sayers

Right now, with the signing of the IA, adding our lands.... We never really had anything to work with except for the 0.16 acres of land. Currently, the intent of the lands and resources committee is to provide recommendations to council for implementation. Right now, we're still new in this process.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Kootenay—Columbia, BC

What do you see as some of the potential opportunities as you move forward?

4:35 p.m.

Lands and Resources Manager, Mississauga First Nation

Keith Sayers

One thing is the lease agreement we're looking at for a solar array farm. A presentation was made to the committee. Because of the uniqueness of our committee, it being a cross-section of the community, each member voiced concerns and then provided a final recommendation to council to either accept a lease agreement or deny the lease, based on their decisions.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Kootenay—Columbia, BC

It would seem to me as though, with this advisory board, there's a great opportunity to expand upon economic development in the future, not singly to solar development but also to forestry or whatever other opportunities may evolve.

Can you expound upon some of the opportunities that may become available to you now that you have expanded lands, outside of forestry and the environmental aspect of it?

4:40 p.m.

Lands and Resources Manager, Mississauga First Nation

Keith Sayers

We see opportunities in tourism, such as bear-hunting services, fishing services, deer-hunting services. We have a lodge, but we're still struggling with negotiating with the Province of Ontario on promoting fishing opportunities. I foresee some of those as good economic benefits for our band members who want to engage in that kind of activity. We would allocate a piece of land that we can identify through the mapping process and would say, you can have this piece of land, for whatever lease rate we decided was fair to the individual and fair to the first nation. There are definitely good opportunities in that sector, regardless of what the forestry industry is like right now.

Those sides of the natural resource situation present a good opportunity.

4:40 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

I'd like to add to that.

You talked about the lodge. There was what they called the Chiblow Lake Lodge. Unfortunately, the settlement agreement says we buy buildings and the land and not chattels. It was bought as a business, but we ended up arguing. We bought it as buildings and so forth, and we've been striving to make it better. The lodge itself has deteriorated to the point where I guess it's redundant.

We have plans for a new building. We have already built seven new cottages over the years. It's the development corporation that has been doing this, but the issue is the limited access and then the regime that you have to follow there, because they're basically on provincial and private lands, so you have to follow the regimes.

Our issues or problems may come when it is time for the funding. I think it's around $1.2 million for the improvements we want to do, and we're shooting for this year. We just hope we don't run into any problems that, because they're provincial lands, may be a detriment to funding.

4:40 p.m.

Manager, Support Services, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Julie Pellerin

Could I respond to that?

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Sure. Then I have another quick question for Keith, I believe.

4:40 p.m.

Manager, Support Services, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Julie Pellerin

In regard to economic development, for the land code first nations, in general, it's hard to say what the economic developments will be. It's hard to anticipate what the members will want by way of getting into business. It's hard to anticipate what developers or potential third-party businesses will want to do business with the land code first nation.

Mississauga is along the Trans-Canada Highway. I just wanted to add that whenever an opportunity does come to them, they will be in charge and they will negotiate directly with that third party. When talking about economic development, the possibilities are endless, and the drivers of this are going to be the first nations.