Evidence of meeting #35 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 kahnawake.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

5 p.m.

Associate Director, Lands Unit, Mohawk Council of Kahnawake

Debbie Morris

Well, as I was saying earlier, the one along the Highway 30 area has just been initiated within the past year.

There is another one for a very small piece of property on our western end. That has been going on for three years. We've been faced with issues like the mayor of the community there wanting to change it, and not give us this piece but to give us another piece.... It's very ridiculous, to the point where she had her workers take down the “Kahnawake” sign in her municipality. Things like that are going on, so it's quite disheartening.

5 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

In your communities, Chief, with respect to the ATRs—the addition to reserves—how long have you been waiting for the process to take place? Are you near completion?

5 p.m.

Chief, Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation

Chief Bartholomew J. Tsannie

For Hatchet Lake, we're in the process now, but we're not going to know for maybe another two or three years, or something....

5 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

When did you start the process?

5 p.m.

Chief, Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation

Chief Bartholomew J. Tsannie

Probably about...? When was it?

5 p.m.

Paul Denechezhe Councillor, Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation

We submitted a submission to [Inaudible--Editor] I think about two years ago. They haven't responded yet. The lawyers are in the process of....

5 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Have they indicated that it's because there is a third party in there that there is an issue in moving those forward? I know with you there is, obviously.

5 p.m.

Councillor, Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Chris Warkentin

Thank you, Ms. Hughes. Unfortunately, you're out of time as well.

We'll turn to Mr. Rickford for five minutes.

May 15th, 2012 / 5 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to the witnesses for coming today. I have a little connection to the folks in Kahnawake. I was actually studying law at McGill and had an opportunity to serve in your legal department with some outstanding lawyers, including someone who had graduated from McGill just the year prior to me, so it's great to be here with you.

My questions are going to focus on economic development in the context of a trip that we just took in an area that's of particular interest to me as the member of Parliament for Kenora, where, within 326,000 square kilometres of geopolitical boundaries, we have 42 first nations, 25 of which are isolated. I've been spending a lot of time as the member of Parliament, and in fact, in my capacity as a lawyer just prior to that, looking at this whole idea of urban reserves. Indeed, we saw in at least one instance with respect to Muskeg Lake first nations how beneficial this was in a number of key areas.

First of all, they were not in the city of Saskatoon, so this was an opportunity for some economic development. I think, as importantly, what I heard from the chief and, in fact, what I heard from surrounding communities that were involved in the urban reserve was that this gave a chance to many off-reserve members to reconnect with their community in some meaningful way and to add to the resources that they have there. It was also a place of work that was more comfortable for them. There was a myriad of examples of how this had benefited them.

Chief Phillips, I believe you have two urban reserves, and they each serve up something different in terms of their characteristics. One is about 10 kilometres outside of the city, effectively in Montreal, and the other one, I think, is at Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, if I'm not mistaken. That land would perhaps be used for different reasons. They represent, if I'm correct on this, about 31,000, plus or minus, acres.

I'd like you to identify for us, if you could, what purposes these are serving in the context of economic development or otherwise and what the differences are between the two.

Then just finally, Diane, regrettably we didn't get up into Prince Albert on our trip to Saskatchewan, but it was an area I was more familiar with, having worked up in Pelican Narrows. I know that the PAGC has a role in the Peter Ballantyne urban reserve and I was wondering, subsequent to that, if you could spend a couple of minutes to treat the whole subject of an urban reserve in Prince Albert and how it serves northern Saskatchewan.

Thank you very much, Chief Phillips, or Debbie, perhaps.

5:05 p.m.

Council Chief, Mohawk Council of Kahnawake

Chief Clinton Phillips

They're night and day.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

They're night and day? Okay.

5:05 p.m.

Council Chief, Mohawk Council of Kahnawake

Chief Clinton Phillips

For Kahnawake—or Tioweroton, as we call it—is owned I guess by Kahnawake and also Kanesatake.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Kenora, ON

Okay.

5:05 p.m.

Council Chief, Mohawk Council of Kahnawake

Chief Clinton Phillips

I guess we're both under the title.

In Tioweroton, there's no electricity. There's no running water. It's camping, living in the bush—Shangri-La, if you ask me. You can't beat it.

You can't beat it. It's a way of life that I guess our people once had and that we no longer have.