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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

4:25 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

The MRP are at their third or fourth draft, I think, and hopefully that's their final one. We were hoping they were going to have it tabled May 17, which is our annual health fair, where we do have a lot of people, but it may be put off for another month or so. That basically is moving forward.

4:25 p.m.

Lands and Resources Manager, Mississauga First Nation

Keith Sayers

To add to that, we have established under our land code a land resources committee that developed the MRP to be implemented under our land code. However, we're still trying to work out some of the legal side of things in that regard. It just keeps going back and forth to our legal adviser to make sure all our concerns are dealt with in an appropriate fashion.

Hopefully we do have the final draft in a stage now...and as Jim mentioned, we're hoping to have it targeted for a community session in a couple of weeks. But due to other things developing, we'll probably push that back another month or two, just to make sure we have everything in place for the MRP.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Clarke Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

How much time do I have, Mr. Chair?

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

You have about two minutes.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Clarke Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Julie, hopefully you can help add some more clarification. What are the issues, points, or problems the community is facing in regard to the MRP? We hear it going back and forth for legal counsel. What are some of the factors in play here?

4:30 p.m.

Manager, Support Services, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Julie Pellerin

Do you mean specific to Mississauga?

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Clarke Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Yes, please.

4:30 p.m.

Manager, Support Services, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Julie Pellerin

I think one of the first things was that they really didn't have any lands to manage, so in order to properly sell the MRP to the membership, it really needs them to have a vested interest in what the outcome is. Aside from that, it simply takes the time it takes to draft it and make sure that it reflects the community needs and wants. Basically, that's pretty much it.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Clarke Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

What about the environmental management agreement and the challenges facing the first nations community?

4:30 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

I think we're into step two, now that there's no environmental management agreement required. However, we are in the stage where we do have an environmental management plan, which I reviewed on the plane today. Its main focus is the community engagement strategy, but it also addresses all the environmental issues that we've had out of step one. I think we're moving forward, and as I said, I'm hoping by the end of this calendar year we will at least have our waste management law in place.

Again, because Mississauga didn't have a lot of environmental issues—most of them are home-grown, like septic systems and dealing with things like that. Of course, I'm sure you're aware that we're sitting right beside Cameco, so we have to deal with those issues, which will probably far exceed what we anticipated in the amount of work, technical expertise, and legal advice that we're going to require. Those are some of the long-standing issues in regard to environmental management.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

Thank you very much, Mr. Cada.

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

May 3rd, 2012 / 4:30 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you, Mr. Cada and Mr. Sayers.

I noted there was some concern about support within the structure. You mentioned that. In February 2011 you conducted an online survey. Was that to understand better the residents' point of view on certain things?

4:30 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

No. That was our land-use plan, wasn't it? Was that in the report? Can you clarify that for me?

4:30 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Yes, it conducted a land use and resources management plan survey.

4:30 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

Yes, we did. I think there was a total of 135 questions. The reason behind that survey...we wanted to develop the land-use plan. I don't know if we mentioned that, but we do have a draft land-use plan that we basically had in place prior to even having the land code. So we were doing that prudent planning, and we do have to revisit that and maybe make a few alterations. There's not a lot required.

It was based on the survey. We asked about hunting, we asked about fishing, we actually threw in some housing—it was a very well-designed survey, but we did have input from elders and so on. When we designed it, we sent it off to the operative membership, and we did get a very good response.

4:30 p.m.

Lands and Resources Manager, Mississauga First Nation

Keith Sayers

That was one of the things we had to do in terms of our own due diligence in making sure that our community members were consulted. Because we could not get out to reach each individual, the online survey was designed, and people were encouraged to complete it, so we could come up with a summary as to where the community wanted to go in that regard.

4:30 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

It was a fairly detailed one, with 135 questions.

4:30 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

Yes, and some of it was fairly...“Do you agree with this” and “Do you agree with that?” I think that was where we got our direction, especially when we talked about the hunting and fishing. Once the land has reserve status, they are under our position.

I think we had to make it clear that we were going to try to continue with the permits for the non-natives to continue to have access to those lands. Obviously, there were fees charged, and that's where we got into the conservation officer program. It was effective, but as Keith said, we weren't able to generate the revenues required from the lands to sustain it because we didn't have access to that revenue.

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

I'm looking at your report, and I see the goal statement:

To ensure that the Reserve land belonging to Mississauga First Nation is for the use of Mississauga First Nation members, that the land mass be protected and that the cultural and traditional values of the Mississauga First Nation people will be the mainstay of land issues and matters.

Is that the real meat of what you're doing?

4:35 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

How did people take the idea of different forms of land ownership?

4:35 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

I would say that compared with some other first nations I've seen that have land claims and settlements, we didn't have per se the mass squatting or people moving ahead of the first nation. I guess you could basically say that there were people moving out and claiming spots, and so forth. Right now we have about 31 temporary land-use permits that we're going to look at trying to introduce long term, and those are just for community members.

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

They're for band members. Okay.

There was another interesting thing. There was mention of some land sales, and then you met with the Minister of Natural Resources, and no more land will be sold in the future.

Was that...?

4:35 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

Those are lands outside of the reserve boundary, which is basically what we claim as our traditional lands. There's no land claim or anything in place. That's dealing with those types of issues.

The lands and natural resources committee was established mainly for the land code, but because we have such a group, we expanded them to include the traditional lands. There were some areas that.... As part of an MNR process, we identified all of our traditional land values in those areas, the crown lands along the Mississagi River system. They have those. When they wanted to do land sales, they basically came to us and consulted. We're still working on a process.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

Thank you very much, Mr. Cada and Mr. Bevington.

We'll turn to Mr. Wilks now for five minutes.