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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

4:45 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

He just signed off on the amendment to the first nations land management agreement, our framework agreement that added the reserve lands to the original amendment. That gave us our legal teeth to proceed. That was March 14 of this year.

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

I think Julie wanted to add something.

4:45 p.m.

Manager, Support Services, First Nations Lands Management Resource Centre

Julie Pellerin

Yes. That was Chief Robert Louie who spoke, and he met with the minister the night before his presentation to the committee. At that time it wasn't signed, but since then it has been signed, so that's an update on that.

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

Thank you so much.

We'll now turn to—

4:45 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Already?

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

Yes, and we even let you go over time. I know how that is.

Mr. Boughen, we'll turn to you now for five minutes.

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Thank you, Chair, and welcome to the panel. We're glad you're able to spend part of your day with us.

Looking at some of your recent documentation, your 2010 annual report mentions that your community was concerned with how the FNLM decision would impact the Mississauga First Nation's members who live off the reserve. How has that implementation of FNLM affected them? Do you have any kind of feedback on that?

4:50 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

Can you rephrase that? You're saying that the off-reserve membership would be affected by the FNLM?

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

No. I'm saying, has it been? Has the implementation of FNLM affected people who live off the reserve?

4:50 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

No. Unfortunately, it only applies to the land and not to the people off reserve. Those off reserve have been consulted, I think, throughout the process. They had to be part of the vote, which was difficult for us because we've had numerous votes with our trust. One of the requirements was that 35% had to vote, and of that 35%, 50% were in favour. So out of nine votes through our trust, I think we were two out of six, or something of that nature, to spend dollars when they wanted to do that.

So, yes, those off reserve are consulted, but unfortunately their concerns are not shared by vote per se.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Has it encouraged members to return to the reserve since you put it in place?

4:50 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

I would say to a certain extent we are seeing some influx. One of the things is that the housing list is growing. Hopefully, we're looking at ten units this year, and then bringing a lot of people back. They do see some of the benefits, especially with the ones who got an education in the natural resources field; that's what we're targeting now, and also environmental management, and then we'll be looking into biology and those other areas, plus construction.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Right.

4:50 p.m.

Lands and Resources Manager, Mississauga First Nation

Keith Sayers

Just to comment on that, the opportunity is also there for them to acquire a small piece of land for recreational camps, which some are doing now. They want information on where they can get a piece of property for some camps.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

What kind of input have you received in regard to FNLM from community members who live off the reserve?

4:50 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

I would say not a lot. I can't remember the vote. I think we had 22 votes, so the majority, I believe 70%, was the on-reserve vote, but don't quote me on it. Even though 60% to 70% of the members live off reserve, we really have to target the ones on reserve to ensure we can do some of these things, when we base it on 35%.

We have some off reserve who are not far away, in the Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury areas. People in those catchments tend to have input and they come back to the reserve. For the other ones, it's more of a seasonal thing.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

What would you say is the long-term vision that you have with FNLM in place now and your moving forward as a first nation on reserve? Do you see acquisition of more land possible? Do you see some industrial operations, some manufacturing? What do you see down the trail?

4:50 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

We do have an industrial park, which was private property we purchased outside of the settlement agreement. That is there. The province has very limited land. There are lands in our area that are provincial lands, and we are well aware and the province is aware. Those are some of the things we are looking at in our negotiations.

Do you really want my answer? In all honesty, we want full control and management of our lands. Basically, we want AANDC out of our affairs so that we can move on.

4:50 p.m.

Lands and Resources Manager, Mississauga First Nation

Keith Sayers

To add to that, regarding opportunities, locally there are lands for sale, but because of the time required to add them to the reserve, we may lose those opportunities for implementing projects, such as a quarry. We know that Ontario Trap Rock, which is not too far from us, is doing well. There are areas that have been identified as having trap rock, but we can't capitalize on that because of the process in making those lands reserve lands.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

Thank you, Mr. Boughen. And gentlemen, thank you.

We are now finished our second round of questioning, colleagues, but I know there are a couple of questions that are still outstanding and we do have a little time. I am going to turn to Ms. Crowder first to ask some short questions.

May 3rd, 2012 / 4:55 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Yes. It will be a short question just for clarification.

You outlined very well the complexities of land management, whether it's having to deal with additions to reserve, the FNLMA, the process around the highway, and then the specific claims. You're having to deal with a whole series of different processes.

I have a question about the flooded claims and the specific claims process. Is that working for you? Is the specific claims process going forward?

4:55 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

It's moving. The number crunching has come out again, and we've had changes in regard to meetings, whether they're going to be conference calls or face to face at the table. Those changes have come, and we're still waiting for, I guess, confirmation of the negotiator, once he knows what his final budget is. I think everybody's feeling that crunch.

Other than that, we're moving forward. As we said, August 24, 2013, is the actual three-year cutoff as per the legislation or policy, but there have been some first nations that have been able to continue on past that three-year period. I am hopeful we can be there and have that completed by August. Based on the experience of dealing with the northern boundary and all the issues with that, along with the ILA highway negotiations that we've been doing for almost 12 years now, I'm quite confident that we can meet that deadline.

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

As you're well aware, the specific claims legislation was designed to prevent you from being in negotiations for 12, 15, 20 years.

On that specific claim, was that one that had previously been in the process?

4:55 p.m.

Director of Operations, Mississauga First Nation

James Cada

It goes back to the 1800s. I think the real formalization goes back to 1974. It all has to do with an order in council that was passed. I think it was the infamous 0.16 acres. So, yes, we're hoping we can have this resolved.

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

So that claim has actually been outstanding for decades. But now it's under the new process, so let's hope you'll see some resolution.