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

4:50 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

I would say not a lot. I can't remember the vote. I think we had 22 votes, so the majority, I believe 70%, was the on-reserve vote, but don't quote me on it. Even though 60% to 70% of the members live off reserve, we really have to target the ones on reserve to ensure we can do some of these things, when we base it on 35%.

We have some off reserve who are not far away, in the Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury areas. People in those catchments tend to have input and they come back to the reserve. For the other ones, it's more of a seasonal thing.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Palliser, SK

What would you say is the long-term vision that you have with FNLM in place now and your moving forward as a first nation on reserve? Do you see acquisition of more land possible? Do you see some industrial operations, some manufacturing? What do you see down the trail?

4:50 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

We do have an industrial park, which was private property we purchased outside of the settlement agreement. That is there. The province has very limited land. There are lands in our area that are provincial lands, and we are well aware and the province is aware. Those are some of the things we are looking at in our negotiations.

Do you really want my answer? In all honesty, we want full control and management of our lands. Basically, we want AANDC out of our affairs so that we can move on.

4:50 p.m.

Lands and Resources Manager, Mississauga First Nation

Keith Sayers

To add to that, regarding opportunities, locally there are lands for sale, but because of the time required to add them to the reserve, we may lose those opportunities for implementing projects, such as a quarry. We know that Ontario Trap Rock, which is not too far from us, is doing well. There are areas that have been identified as having trap rock, but we can't capitalize on that because of the process in making those lands reserve lands.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Thank you, Mr. Boughen. And gentlemen, thank you.

We are now finished our second round of questioning, colleagues, but I know there are a couple of questions that are still outstanding and we do have a little time. I am going to turn to Ms. Crowder first to ask some short questions.

May 3rd, 2012 / 4:55 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Yes. It will be a short question just for clarification.

You outlined very well the complexities of land management, whether it's having to deal with additions to reserve, the FNLMA, the process around the highway, and then the specific claims. You're having to deal with a whole series of different processes.

I have a question about the flooded claims and the specific claims process. Is that working for you? Is the specific claims process going forward?

4:55 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

It's moving. The number crunching has come out again, and we've had changes in regard to meetings, whether they're going to be conference calls or face to face at the table. Those changes have come, and we're still waiting for, I guess, confirmation of the negotiator, once he knows what his final budget is. I think everybody's feeling that crunch.

Other than that, we're moving forward. As we said, August 24, 2013, is the actual three-year cutoff as per the legislation or policy, but there have been some first nations that have been able to continue on past that three-year period. I am hopeful we can be there and have that completed by August. Based on the experience of dealing with the northern boundary and all the issues with that, along with the ILA highway negotiations that we've been doing for almost 12 years now, I'm quite confident that we can meet that deadline.

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

As you're well aware, the specific claims legislation was designed to prevent you from being in negotiations for 12, 15, 20 years.

On that specific claim, was that one that had previously been in the process?

4:55 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

It goes back to the 1800s. I think the real formalization goes back to 1974. It all has to do with an order in council that was passed. I think it was the infamous 0.16 acres. So, yes, we're hoping we can have this resolved.

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

So that claim has actually been outstanding for decades. But now it's under the new process, so let's hope you'll see some resolution.

4:55 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Okay. Thank you very much.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Thank you, Ms. Crowder.

We'll turn to Mr. Rickford.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

One of the most important words in the title of the study we're doing is “sustainable”. I think we've worked very effectively with our friends across the way here to contemplate the environment in part of this.

James, you made some clear remarks about the stewardship of a number of resources on this land and your strong desire to develop it in a sustainable way. You mentioned fishing, tourism development, and forestry.

Julie, thank you for coming and the important work that you're doing with this group. It's nice to see you back here again.

Keith said there weren't any environmental issues and that the recommendations in the environmental management agreement should be looked at as an important part of moving this process forward. But this still doesn't deal with the potential residual matter of a newly expanded land base with the potential for environmental issues to arise. We've heard about the environmental management gap, which I think contains two primary issues: capacity, which includes training, and inadequate enforcement.

Could you give us a few closing thoughts on environmental preparedness, from the perspective of both a resource person and someone on the ground?

5 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

Right now, I would say we have one of the most sought after environmental workers under contract with us. We're going into our second year and we're hoping we can keep her on for the third. She has her B.Sc. and is familiar with the territory. We're really striving forward towards our plans.

We recently looked at our step two, milestone one. We have our plans in place, and the chief and council we have now are probably six to seven months into their three-year term. They've also identified this as an issue for their strategic plan over the next three years. It's all coming together, and I hope we can build the capacity you're talking about. We just had a university student visiting, and we already have a plan to bring her back into the community.