This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

Evidence of meeting #32 for Indigenous and Northern Affairs in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was fnpo.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clarence T. Jules  Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Tax Commission

4:40 p.m.

Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Tax Commission

Clarence T. Jules

That's a little bit different. You asked about the Indian Act.

Under FNLMA, you can enter into longer term leases on your own. Under the Indian Act you have to have a vote amongst all of the electors who have a 49-year lease. There's a court case...not a court case but an action under the Human Rights Commission to have an individual do a 99-year lease. But as all of you appreciate, even when you have a 99-year lease, there's a certain tipping point. So when you start getting to year 30, 40, 50, the land values decrease—

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

I have another question because I have a few of them.

Is it possible to establish a Torrens registry under the land management act?

4:45 p.m.

Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Tax Commission

Clarence T. Jules

They've chosen to have a deed system under the Indian Act.

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

But there's nothing that would prevent that from happening.

4:45 p.m.

Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Tax Commission

Clarence T. Jules

They've chosen to have a deeds land registry system under the Indian Lands Registry. So right now under the Indian Lands Registry, there's a registry for Indian reserves, for designated lands, and for FNLMA lands—and that's deeds.

So as I pointed out, eventually you're going to end up with an encyclopedia.

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

You have 20 seconds if you have something there, Dennis.

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Pretty tough, 20 seconds.

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

Okay, well, the last time I gave somebody a minute, it went on for five minutes. I'm speaking about Mr. Bevington. Last time I gave him, it went over to 8 minutes and 43 seconds.

So Mr. Seeback, I'll turn it over to you.

April 3rd, 2012 / 4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

It's great to have you here. This is very interesting to me.

So if I were to try to summarize what I'm hearing, this is just going to give another option for first nations with respect to land management. You'd have almost a spectrum. You're going to have 53/60 for some. Then you're going to have some people who will say FNLMA, and then with this legislation there is now going to be an additional option, which is conversion of certain parts of reserve lands to fee simple.

Would that be accurate?

4:45 p.m.

Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Tax Commission

Clarence T. Jules

Well what we're contemplating is that the entire land base would be under FNPO, because otherwise it would lead to the leasing that was mentioned earlier. So it would all be under FNPO. There isn't going to be a choice of bits and pieces.

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

If you opt in, if a community opts in, in that vote—

4:45 p.m.

Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Tax Commission

Clarence T. Jules

The whole land base....

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

—then the entire reserve land base is going to be registered under fee simple.

4:45 p.m.

Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Tax Commission

Clarence T. Jules

That's right. Transferred.

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

Transferred under fee simple.

I was reading one comment for my own explanation. It was in some of the notes that we all get. It talked about a reversionary right remaining with the first nation. Do you have any idea what that means?

4:45 p.m.

Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Tax Commission

Clarence T. Jules

A reversionary right.

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

A reversionary right.

4:45 p.m.

Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Tax Commission

Clarence T. Jules

Well there's a right of resumption that the provinces have over lands and they keep that so they can take lands for public purposes.

A reversionary interest that bands would have over lands.... You know, that would be akin to a right of expropriation, I would guess.

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

Just in some of the notes that we get from the library it says, “Regardless of who holds the fee simple interest, the underlying title or reversionary right is intended to remain with the First Nation.”

4:45 p.m.

Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Tax Commission

Clarence T. Jules

Yes. That simply means that the title will always be vested in the first nation, no matter who has an interest in it.

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

I want to go quickly to a couple of things.

There are obvious differences between a leasehold interest and a fee simple interest. That's part of what you're talking about. What do you see as the major disadvantages and advantages of loans—access to capital—under a fee simple system versus somebody who has a leasehold interest?

4:45 p.m.

Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Tax Commission

Clarence T. Jules

I hosted a national conference on this in October of 2010. I had Hernando de Soto make a presentation at the conference, and those of you who don't know, he wrote a book called, The Mystery of Capital. He sits on a committee with Madeleine Albright to alleviate poverty for the UN.

I had him up to talk about all of these issues, but one of the panellists that was there was a lawyer for the Royal Bank. He was saying that banks are really reticent to use a leasehold interest for the borrowing of money. I found that in my own experiences as a chief of my community. Yes, you can borrow money based on your mortgages, but when I purchased on behalf of the band and the neighbouring ranch, Harper Ranch, they wouldn't accept leases. Because we have lots—we have a couple of thousand leases on the Kamloops reserve.

I said, we have this, and they said they were interested in the FNGST—the first nations goods and services sales tax—so we were able to leverage that. When you go to the banking institutions, they want to be able to have something that's a little bit more secure than a lease.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

It would be simple if it would obviously be that.

How am I doing for time, Chair?

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

One minute....

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

One minute, great—