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Natural Resources committee  Can I get a short version of the question again, please?

May 30th, 2022Committee meeting

Herb Lehr

Natural Resources committee  Thank you. I look at it all carte blanche. I look at what's required to bring indigenous people up to parity with all other Canadians, so I'm not going to say there's any one set amount. I think you have to take a look at where people are, statistically, in terms of health, education and financial resources, and look at it as a benchmark to create equality across the road.

May 30th, 2022Committee meeting

Herb Lehr

Natural Resources committee  Thank you. One hundred million dollars came to Alberta. Eighty-five million dollars went to first nations and $15 million went to the Metis Settlements. It didn't even touch those we need to reclaim. It had a big provincial twist to it. The ones that we were involved with as settlements got left by the wayside.

May 30th, 2022Committee meeting

Herb Lehr

Natural Resources committee  That's a great question, Blake. We don't know. We've had oil companies go bankrupt. We have a great number of different providers. The biggest provider in our communities of course is Canadian Natural Resources, which has posted record profits, but they don't even pay their industrial tax to us.

May 30th, 2022Committee meeting

Herb Lehr

Natural Resources committee  They actually lost on a technicality. They won when it came to being able to use budget-based bylaws and taxation. We will be able to hold them accountable in the future.

May 30th, 2022Committee meeting

Herb Lehr

Natural Resources committee  For sure. The settlements moved into what they call “budget-based taxation”, so that we can actually tax with industrial tax and set our mill rate based under the budget that's required by the oil and gas companies. We make sure we're getting some money out of them because they don't contribute properly.

May 30th, 2022Committee meeting

Herb Lehr

Natural Resources committee  Thank you for the question. We do own one and a quarter million acres of land. We have more wells than first nations people have on their lands, yet I look at what has transpired with our people. I just want to say, for the record, that 30 years ago, I made a deal with Texaco.

May 30th, 2022Committee meeting

Herb Lehr

Natural Resources committee  Not a problem, Chair. It's Herb Lehr, president of the Metis Settlements General Council.

May 30th, 2022Committee meeting

Herb Lehr

Natural Resources committee  Thank you, committee members, for the invitation to speak about a just transition to a new economy. Natural resource exploitation has undeniably brought both blessings and misfortune to our communities. The most significant benefit has been high wages for relatively unskilled labour.

May 30th, 2022Committee meeting

Herb Lehr

Indigenous and Northern Affairs committee  That was the dream of our elders who signed this deal with the province that we're currently under. It was that this deal would be a stepping stone. The way the elders talk about it is they wanted two horses pulling the cart, with the provincial and federal governments working concurrently together for the greater good of [Technical difficulty—Editor] and the continual dream to have our land protected by the Constitution [Technical difficulty—Editor].

March 29th, 2022Committee meeting

Herb Lehr

Indigenous and Northern Affairs committee  Our settlements get housing programs [Technical difficulty—Editor] quickly, so their expectations of being able to build a house in our communities doesn't happen. We end up having to buy trailers and modular homes and bring them into the communities. We lose all economic opportunity from doing construction, and from getting our people to feel as though they are part of it, and all we are doing is stimulating the economies of the municipalities around us and not truly helping the people in the community with a mechanism that could do two things, two for the price of one—you get an economy and you get a home.

March 29th, 2022Committee meeting

Herb Lehr

Indigenous and Northern Affairs committee  Thank you very much, Mr. McLeod. We do have a request for $50 million per year as a stopgap measure in front of the federal government. We have had it there for a couple of years. We know the LTA is expiring. Bill 57 just got implemented. Currently, the Metis Settlements General Council that I work at last year had a [Technical difficulty—Editor] budget of [Technical difficulty—Editor] million dollars.

March 29th, 2022Committee meeting

Herb Lehr

Indigenous and Northern Affairs committee  Currently, we have a long-term agreement with the provincial government that expires at the end of the next fiscal year. The amount that we should be eligible for is $5 million a year. Of that $5 million a year, zero is available to the settlements. A portion of the money goes to infrastructure.

March 29th, 2022Committee meeting

Herb Lehr

Indigenous and Northern Affairs committee  I think it was the best deal that our people could cut at that point in time. Now, with the 2016 decision through Powley and through the Supreme Court of Canada decision on Daniels, there isn't money available in Alberta for us and we have to move federally. In fact, we're in a very precarious position if we don't get access in this current fiscal year.

March 29th, 2022Committee meeting

Herb Lehr

Indigenous and Northern Affairs committee  It's quite massive. I have to say that in the legislation that we have provincially, there needs to be some vacancy created for our section 35 rights. We're in a trilateral arrangement, where we have the province, the federal government and the Metis Settlements General Council sitting at the same table.

March 29th, 2022Committee meeting

Herb Lehr