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Evidence of meeting #4 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 tribunal.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Anik Dupont  Director General, Specific Claims Branch, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Kevin McNeil  Senior Counsel, Specific Claims Section, Department of Justice
Kathy Green  Director, Research and Policy Directorate, Specific Claims Branch, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Jonathan Genest-Jourdain NDP Manicouagan, QC

Very good. I will turn over the remainder of my time.

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Chairman, I have a question.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

You have half a minute.

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

I have a follow-up question for the representative from Justice, Mr. McNeil.

I remain confused about the solution of the government that if there is no settlement within three years, the matter goes to the commission. There's nothing in the statute, and in fact the statute says the opposite. I'd appreciate hearing from Justice about where the department is coming up with this--that if in three years you don't have a settlement, it goes automatically to the commission.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

I think you've been set up, only in that you have no time to answer what looks to be an exhaustive question. If you can give a short answer, maybe we can come back to this on Ms. Duncan's next round of questioning.

11:45 a.m.

Senior Counsel, Specific Claims Section, Department of Justice

Kevin McNeil

I could add nothing more than Ms. Dupont has already said this morning on that. The statute, as you said, does not require that they go to the tribunal. They work within that three-year timeframe to try to achieve a settlement.

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

What three-year timeframe? Where in the law is the three-year timeframe?

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

It looks like there are additional questions, but Ms. Duncan will probably defer those to her next round.

Mr. Boughen.

October 4th, 2011 / 11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I thank the witnesses for taking time out of their busy day to meet with us.

As we continue to look at the settlement offers, the first question I have for the panel is, will Canada be tabling settlement offers at all negotiation tables on October 16, 2011?

11:45 a.m.

Director General, Specific Claims Branch, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Anik Dupont

Thank you.

No, we will not be tabling offers at all tables as of October 16, 2011.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Are you currently working with first nations people to conclude settlements within the three-year timeframe, if at all possible?

11:45 a.m.

Director General, Specific Claims Branch, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

So negotiations are ongoing.

11:45 a.m.

Director General, Specific Claims Branch, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Anik Dupont

Negotiations are ongoing. When we believe we are at a time at the table when we're ready to table an offer, we will be doing so.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Of course, the goal for all of us is to conclude a fair settlement for the benefit of first nations and for all Canadians. As we think on that and move forward...and I know that negotiations are confidential and you may not be able to answer this, but how many negotiation tables are affected in terms of the three-year time period?

11:45 a.m.

Director General, Specific Claims Branch, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Anik Dupont

Roughly around 80 tables will reach the three-year mark on October 16, 2011.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Do you have any notion at this stage of the game of how many tables may be left to negotiate?

11:45 a.m.

Director General, Specific Claims Branch, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Anik Dupont

In total we have over 270 ongoing negotiations, which include those 80 tables. Only 80 of them will reach the three-year mark on October 16.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Thank you.

Is it true that in October 2011 Canada will revoke all previous settlements offered in light of the third anniversary of the legislation?

11:45 a.m.

Director General, Specific Claims Branch, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Anik Dupont

No, we will not be revoking any offers that we have made at the tables.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Are we looking at any specific timeframe in terms of completing the rest of the negotiations?

11:45 a.m.

Director General, Specific Claims Branch, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Anik Dupont

Each claim has a three-year timeframe, and as I indicated, as we move through the process each one is looked at within that three-year timeframe.

In 2008 all the ones that were already in negotiation were deemed to start negotiations in 2008, and now all these claims are coming to fruition on October 16, but since that time we've been accepting claims for the past three years that are also on that same track. The three-year timeframe is October 16, and every other week or month has another claim that will be coming to a three-year timeframe.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

How many tables would be negotiated? At any one time there's more than one claim being negotiated, I would assume?

11:45 a.m.

Director General, Specific Claims Branch, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Anik Dupont

Most of our tables now in negotiation are in active discussion. We've accepted some recently where we're waiting for responses from the first nation.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Okay. Thank you.

Thanks, Mr. Chair.