Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Little Buffalo Lake, AB
3536 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T6J 1A4
December 21, 1992
On December 10th Alberta Member of Parliament Ross Harvey asked Federal Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon about E. Davie Fulton's testimony before the Lubicon Settlement Commission. A copy of the exchange between Messrs. Harvey and Siddon is attached as well as a related press release.
Mr. Siddon's final comment to Mr. Harvey is worth noting. Mr. Siddon says that compensating the Lubicons "for alleged loss of aboriginal title to oil and gas lands...would amount to recognition that other Bands in the area had no rights while those had been recognized under treaty and would amount to over a $1 million for every family of four in the Lubicon community".
While badly put Mr. Siddon seems to be suggesting, as he has in the past, that the Lubicons no longer retain aboriginal title to traditional Lubicon lands because of the outstanding treaty land entitlement agreement recently signed by the Government with the Government created Woodland Cree Band, which Mr. Siddon has earlier claimed somehow has an "equal right" to traditional Lubicon territory as a supposed Lubicon splinter group. Mr. Siddon does not say how the Government orchestrated Woodland Cree settlement agreement extinguishes Lubicon aboriginal rights to the traditional Lubicon area, or how compensating the Lubicons for oil and gas extracted from the traditional Lubicon territory "would amount to recognition that other Bands in the area have no rights", or exactly what "other Bands" he's talking about, or how $100 million in compensation for 500 Lubicons "would amount to over $1 million settlement for every family of four".
On this last point Mr. Siddon is presumably saying that he doesn't believe that there are 500 Lubicons left to worry about because his Government officials think that they've siphoned off between 200 and 250 Lubicons to the newly created Woodland and Loon River Bands.
Excerpt from December 10, 1992, COMMONS DEBATES
Mr. Ross Harvey (Edmonton East): Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.
Last month the Hon. E. Davie Fulton, the government's own former investigator into the continuing plight of the Lubicon people, publicly described their situation as a history of abuse.
He charged that promises had not been fulfilled, that government representatives had said things they did not mean, abdicated obligations, engaged in obfuscation and generally prevented any settlement which may have ensured the Lubicons would not have suffered so dreadfully. He said the Lubicon people are "desperately in need of a sincere, honest and simple approach and response to their problems and a process of honest and open negotiations with a sincere desire to make a settlement."
When will the government heed Mr. Fulton's just counsel and begin to negotiate a fair and just settlement in good faith with the Lubicon people?
Hon. Thomas Siddon (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development): Mr. Speaker, of course I have every respect for the Hon. Mr. Fulton and his advice of which I have taken careful note. In fact I have spoken with Mr. Fulton on these matters.
I am sure he was not referring to efforts I have sincerely made over the past 12 months, having met more than a half a dozen times with Chief Bernard Ominayak of the Lubicon nation to find a solution to this matter.
In the time available I can only tell the hon. member that we have made a very generous and honourable proposal to the Lubicon people which would build a new community, create an economic development fund and provide additional incentives to settle exceeding $50 million which, together with the 95 square miles and additional financial support from the province of Alberta, will be more than adequate compensation for their grievance.
Mr. Ross Harvey (Edmonton East): Mr. Speaker, Mr. Fulton delivered himself of these remarks on November 2, after the most recent government offer was made, after the most recent meeting of the minister with the chief of the Lubicon people.
Will the government at least accept the public conclusion stated on November 2 by Mr. Fulton? That was that the Lubicon claim of $100 million in compensation is, again in his words, "justifiable on the basis of the hardships they have suffered, the indignities to which they have been subjected and the misery they have endured over these past years through faults entirely other than their own."
Hon. Thomas Siddon (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development): Mr. Speaker, the significant offer I presented to Chief Ominayak last summer and which I discussed with him on subsequent occasions would more than adequately accommodate all of the aspects of the Lubicon nation's needs, provide a brand new community and significant financial compensation.
The additional $100 million the hon. member speaks of would be for the alleged loss of aboriginal title to oil and gas lands. That would amount to recognition that other bands in the area had no rights while those had been recognized under treaty and would amount to over a $1 million settlement for every family of four in the Lubicon community.
December 10, 1992, New Democrat Communique
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BEST WAY FOR GOVERNMENT TO MARK HUMAN RIGHTS DAY IS TO SETTLE WITH LUBICON INDIANS, SAYS HARVEY
OTTAWA -- Edmonton East NDP MP Ross Harvey said the best way the Canadian government could mark International Human Rights Day -- and today's launching of the International Year of the World's Indigenous People at the United Nations -- would be to announce the end of their campaign of eradication against the Lubicon Lake Cree Nation and the beginning of sincere negotiations in good faith.
"For 50 years, the Lubicon people have been neglected, lied to, abused, vilified and treated with destructive contempt," said Harvey. "It's one of the worst human rights stains on Canada's checkered record."
He noted that, appearing before the Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review in Edmonton last month, the government's own former Lubicon investigator, the Honourable E. Davie Fulton, termed the treatment of the Lubicon a "...history of abuse".
Fulton investigated the Lubicon situation at the direction of then Indian Affairs minister David Crombie in 1985.
In appearing before the Commission of Review, Fulton denounced what he termed a situation where the Lubicons were "...promised, over 50 years ago, a settlement and a reserve that would have given them a livelihood, set them up in that way so that they wouldn't have suffered so dreadfully from the loss of their other form of livelihood...promises which have not been fulfilled, which have been stymied, which have met with obfuscation..."
He said, "The federal government took various steps which abdicated the obligation that they had undertaken." And he concluded, "In summary, I found people who were desperately in need of a sincere, honest and simple approach to and response to their problems, and a process of honest and open negotiations with a sincere desire to make a settlement."
Harvey said he hoped fervently that Fulton's "wise and compassionate advice" would be heeded by the government before it was too late, and the Lubicon Lake Cree Nation was eradicated.
INFORMATION: (613) 992-2289