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

4:05 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

If there's legislation and there are timelines that go with that legislation, I would be all for it. We've discussed doing timelines in the settlement agreement. We've always gotten resistance—no, they can't commit to that.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

It's a critical element, James.

I know that my time is set to expire, if you could answer briefly.

4:05 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

That basically is it, in a nutshell. We've asked for a commitment. We were looking at that in the two other negotiations we're into. We want some type of commitment from the department that, yes, these are the timelines they can live up to, because we realize that for our lands, there is no encumbrance.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

I appreciate, then, that this would be a fully integrated discussion between other levels of government implicated in this process, and perhaps even private sector stakeholders, such as Hydro One and Union Gas. Would that streamline it and make it more efficient? It would be consistent, I would think.

4:05 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

Yes, it would. Because I can tell you, I know two corporations that are not happy with the process or with what they're being fed now by the department.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

It sounds as if there are too many processes.

My time is up, but thank you, James. I appreciate it.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Thank you, Mr. Rickford.

Ms. Bennett, we'll turn to you now for seven minutes.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

As the parliamentary secretary stated, you're very experienced in managing land.

I was just wondering if you've had time to look at the budget implementation act and the changes in division 46 of the act to the First Nations Land Management Act and the number of pages there that would affect first nations land management.

4:05 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

Unfortunately, no, we haven't. Usually a lot of that we leave to, I would say, our colleagues, the Lands Advisory Board, to advise us on those issues. We are aware of the new funding increases we received, and we're more than grateful for that, because we knew the dollars we were getting weren't enough.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

With respect to that need for “free, prior, and informed consent” on laws affecting first nations in Canada, according to the rights of indigenous peoples, it seems that there are quite significant changes in this budget act. I don't know whether the advisers were asked.

It seems that land surveys are no longer required. The verb has been changed: the “Surveyor General may prepare”. It seems that legal descriptions have been changed, and it seems that no longer are the environmental management agreements necessary. I was just wondering how much consultation had been done on these rather significant changes to the First Nations Land Management Act before the bill was tabled.

May 3rd, 2012 / 4:05 p.m.

Julie Pellerin Manager, Support Services, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

The way the Lands Advisory Board works on these amendments...and these amendments are always improvements to the framework agreement—the framework agreement is the underlying document. The act is amended after the framework agreement is amended. The first nations that are in operation are actually the ones that help develop the amendments and the improvements. The reason the changes were made to the land description report was that we had noticed that land description reports were being held up, and they affected the first nation's ability to vote on their land code. The reason for that is if there is an uncertainty as to the status of the land, then the land description report cannot be completed until the research has been done to clearly identify if it is reserve land.

So the changes to the framework agreement will assist in developing administrative lines that will be able to set aside land where the title is uncertain in order to facilitate the first nation being able to go to a vote. The new funding and the new memorandum of understanding are based on a 24-month timeline, which is actually very doable. But in order to be able to do that, NRCan and Canada have to be able to complete a land description report in a timely fashion.

The environmental management agreement.... That's not to say that there is no environmental management or environmental assessment under a land code, but what we've noticed is that the first nation has not been able to implement any because the environmental management agreement requires Canada to come to the table, and we have not been able to get Environment Canada to agree to an environmental management agreement for any of our 37 first nations that have land codes. This is exactly what self-government first nations are able to do. They implement their own environmental management laws, their own environmental assessment agreements, and they're based on good practice and on the notion of trying to match them up with other jurisdictional laws, so that they're consistent, so the minimum standard will be there.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

I guess what I'm really asking the chair and the parliamentary secretary is whether or not we could have a technical briefing on the changes that are in the budget implementation act before we're asked to vote on that—maybe including the advisory board.

In my question on the order paper, the part for your band or first nation, Mississauga No. 8—is that correct?

4:10 p.m.

Voices

Yes.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

It did have that you put in that request—this is on the ATRs and the number across the country—May 28, 1994 and completed March 25, 2010. Then there's another one that says “NA” that they don't have any information on, which they say is active.

Do you think you could help the department get this a little bit more complete in terms of what they've put on the order paper with respect to your band?

4:10 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

We would have to see that order paper.