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Evidence of meeting #34 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 lands.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

James Cada  Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation
Keith Sayers  Lands and Resources Manager, Mississauga First Nation
Julie Pellerin  Manager, Support Services, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Jean-Marie David

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

David Wilks Conservative 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 Conservative 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 Conservative 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 Conservative 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.

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

Unfortunately, Mr. Wilks, you're out of time, but I think we'll have time to get to follow-up questions later on.

We'll turn to Ms. Hughes now for five minutes.

May 3rd, 2012 / 4:40 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Thank you very much.

Aanii. Bonjour. I'm really happy to see you here.

I believe I was at one of your powwows when the land code vote was happening. I could see all the signs and I knew that people were engaged. Discussion at the powwow was about the land code; that was good.

You are right—this is part of what I was going to mention—that you are right on the Trans-Canada Highway, and the opportunities could be endless for you. I think the surrounding communities in the area help as well. It's not as if you're there and there's nothing else; there are lots of other opportunities.

I want to touch base, because there was discussion about matrimonial real property coming forward. I think my colleague across was talking about the government MRP law at first, and you talked about the one that you're actually designing. I know that Anishinabek Nation was not supporting the government's MRP legislation. I'm not sure whether you may want to comment on that.

The other thing I wanted to ask about was with respect to specific claims. You mentioned some other outstanding...negotiations, I would say, and you talked about flooded lands. Is that under a specific claim?

4:45 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

Flooded lands fall under the specific claims act, yes.

The other one was started, I believe, around 1999 or 2000; it was around the ILA highway negotiations. That one was supposed to be a quick administrative fix, and.... It's this day and age; we're nearing completion. I think our biggest problem is getting the legal counsels to get together.

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

That is one of my questions. What are they telling you, when you're asking for an update on this and asking what the reason is for the slowdown? What are they telling you?

4:45 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

You don't really want to know what my suggestion would be for the reasons.

As far as I'm concerned, there are no major issues. It is a coordinating effort; it's one of getting the legal team together along with the full table.

I hope you can understand that Ontario has, I would say, about seven representatives; they have the MTO, the MNR, and then the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs. AANDC, on the other hand, basically only has two; one is the negotiator and the other the Department of Justice.

At the last call, we figured they really only need maybe two more meetings. It's just a matter of getting them to meet.

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Right now, because it's so new, partnerships are not being forged with other businesses, or are some businesses saying they have an interest, and once this is settled you should let them know, as they're looking at bringing their businesses to your community?

4:45 p.m.

Lands and Resources Manager, Mississauga First Nation

Keith Sayers

Again, we had some discussion on solar energy with one of the initial proponents. Once we determine our next steps in that regard, then, yes, we would be engaging in negotiations with that proponent to bring a solar farm to Mississauga First Nation. There are other issues with that, which are outside the process, on Lake Huron right now.

4:45 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

The other issue.... The ones we are getting a lot of interest on are outside the reserve boundaries and in our traditional lands—mining and so on. As I said, there were three mines in the existing area. Obviously, they were closed for a reason, and that was due to poor quality.

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

I want to go back to your ATR. I know you got the order in council, but has it been signed off by the minister?

4:45 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

The additions to reserve were—

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

When was it done?

4:45 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

That was March 25, 2010. It was signed off by Privy Council.

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Okay.

4:45 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

That was the OIC granting the lands reserve status.

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Okay. One of our other witnesses said you were still waiting for the minister to sign off on it.