Lubicon Settlement Commission Status Report, July 16, 1992


LUBICON SETTLEMENT COMMISSION OF REVIEW

10336 - 114 Street

Edmonton, Alberta

T5K 1S3

(403 488-4767 FAX: (403) 488-4698

STATUS REPORT (July 16, 1992)



The Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review was established in May, 1992.



The first task of the Commission was to invite the three parties to the dispute, the Lubicon Nation, the Federal government and the Provincial government, to attend before it to explain their respective proposals and positions with respect to the dispute.



The Lubicon nation accepted the invitation and appeared before the Commission for a public hearing on June 1 and 2, 192. At this time the Federal and Provincial governments had not responded to the Commission's invitation. At that hearings the Lubicon representatives were given an opportunity to present their proposal and answer many questions that the Commission had with respect to it.



The next hearings were held on June 29, 1992. By this time both levels of government had refused to attend. The Federal Government stated that it was subject to an agreement between itself and the Lubicon people that provided that it would not discuss the negotiations or its position with any other party. The Lubicon people advised that there was no such agreement and that they would welcome the Federal government's appearance before the Commission. The Provincial government advises that its position is public and that nothing could be gained by it appearing before the Commission.



On June 29, 1992 the Commission publicly reviewed the Federal proposal and raised many of the questions it would like the Federal government to address. A copy of these questions is attached.



On June 29, 1992 the Commission also heard from Bill Phipps of the United Church of Canada and John Stellingwerff of the Christian Reform Church. Both of these gentlemen visited Little Buffalo in June 1992 with the ecumenical group of church representatives who had made a similar visit in 1984.



The Commission was originally to have provided its final report by July 31, 1992. This will not be possible as the Commission does not have all of the information it requires. It intends to pursue the questions arising out of the Federal government's proposal as well as invite other witnesses to attend before it. It also plans to visit Little Buffalo on August 6 and 7 and to hold hearings in Peace River on August 7.



Once it has completed its assessment of the facts it will present its final report. It will not at this time address any conclusions or recommendations as it is not in a position to do so.



For further information contact:



Father Jacques Johnson (488-4767); Jennifer Klimek (425-2041/439-3928)


QUESTIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE FEDERAL PROPOSAL AS DISCUSSED AT JUNE 29 HEARINGS



The Commission has reviewed the Federal proposal and has the following questions:



HISTORY



Why was a reserve not established in 1939?



Has the government ever recognized the Lubicon people as an Indian band? If not, why not?



Why did the Woodland Cree obtain band status?



Does the government recognize that there has historically been an injustice to these people?



What happened to the Fulton report? Was it ever made public? Why did those discussions not continue? Why was this report not used for its intended use?



Did the government suggest arbitration? Was a list of arbitrators put forward by the government and accepted by the Lubicons? If so, why were they never used?



What benefits have the Lubicons received to date? What are the reasons for not settling this matter?



THE NATURE OF THE CLAIM



How does the government view the claim; is it a specific claim or a comprehensive claim?



Has the federal government ever settled a claim on the basis of a comprehensive claim with a band that is subject to a treaty?



If the Lubicons have never signed a treaty why is the government reluctant to settle it as a comprehensive claim?



THE LUBICON AGREEMENT



Has the federal government reviewed the Lubicon proposal?



How does it view that proposal?



What is the government's view on the sections of the Lubicon proposal that deal with self-determination and self-government?



What parts of the agreement, if any, have been agreed upon, such as membership, reserve size, community construction and delivery of programs and services?



Are there any legal impediments to accepting the Lubicon proposal? Doug Hoover (Assistant to Tom Siddon) has advised that the federal government could not accept this proposal even if it wanted to as it may be illegal. What is the basis for this position?



THE FEDERAL PROPOSAL



Why does the government define their offer as being generous?



How does the offer compare with other offers being made?



How does the government propose these people are to develop an economic base for their community?



Why are there no firm economic development strategies in the proposal and how do they perceive the Lubicons as surviving with this proposal?



Is it imperative that all of the issues in dispute must be settled before other parts of the agreement can be instituted, i.e. can the question of aboriginal rights or self government be dealt with after other parts of the claim are settled? Can the question of compensation be left until after the economic and structural programs are initiated?



Are they concerned about the settlement of this offer being a precedent for other claims?



The government proposal provides for funding under other programs. However the Lubicons must apply for this funding and must obtain approval before they are granted this money. There is no guarantee that they will get it. How are these figured into the settlement?



Does the government recognize a claim for compensation?



How does the government propose to calculate the compensation as there are four methods:



  1. on the basis of damages for a lost economy;
  2. on the basis of lost resources;
  3. on the basis of loss of services since 1939 when the reserve should have been granted;
  4. on the basis of what DIAND gave other natives elsewhere?


The government has stated that the Lubicons could accept this proposal and then have the compensation issue determined by the courts. Does it still maintain this position? If so, how does it reconcile this position with the fact that the agreement provides a release of the government of any further claims?



Are they willing to raise the dollars from 1988 dollars to the current value?



Is there any concessions the government is willing to make for the delay in settling this claim such as using 1988 dollars or paying interest on any sums?



Is the government willing to complete the negotiations in public?





QUESTIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE PROVINCIAL PROPOSAL AS DISCUSSED AT JUNE 29 HEARINGS



In addition to the questions raised with respect to the Federal government the Commission has the following questions with respect to the Province's position:



How does the Provincial government view the legislation that was passed retroactively to deal with the caveat filed by the Lubicons?



Is the Provincial government willing to stand by the Grimshaw agreement with respect to the land for the reserve?



What is the Provincial government's view on compensation?



What is the value of the resources that have been extracted from the area over which the Lubicons claim aboriginal rights?



Is the Provincial government willing to impose a moratorium on any further extraction or development on the disputed territory or to put the money into a trust account until the matter is resolved?



Why cannot the vocational school be located on the reserve?