Standard Canadian Government Propaganda Letter Draws Response

Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Little Buffalo Lake, AB
Fax: 403-629-3939

Mailing address:
3536 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T6J 1A4
Fax: 403-437-0719

January 29, 1993

Enclosed for your information is a copy of another excellent response to the Canadian Government's standard propaganda letter on the Lubicon situation.

January 14, 1993, letter from Catholic Action for Native America to Frederik S. Eaton, Canadian High Commissioner, London, England

Your Excellency:

Thank you for your letter to Bishop Tripp of December 8th. The bishop has asked me to reply to your letter on his behalf.

It is unfortunate that, although the government of Canada recognizes a valid land claim by the Lubicon Lake First Nation, it refuses to accept the legal and moral implications of the fact that the Lubicon Nation has never ceded any of its ancestral territory. The third paragraph of your letter notes that in 1989 the band agreed to 'accept from Premier Getty' 95 square miles of land. Premier Getty, excellent though his intentions may have been, should not be seen as granting the Lubicon Nation any territory: the 95 square miles of the proposed reserve make up that small portion of the Lubicon Nation's territory which they have opted to retain when they finally cede the rest of their territory by treaty to the Canadian government.

Contrary to the statement in the final sentence of your third paragraph, the United Nations Human Rights Committee did not state that Canada's 1989 offer was an `appropriate remedy' to the Lubicon Nation's claim. It found that the Lubicon Nation was unlikely to obtain justice through the Canadian court system and therefore recommended direct negotiations with the government as a way of seeking an `appropriate remedy' to the injustice under which they were labouring.

We continue to disagree strongly that the various offers made by the government of Canada to the Lubicon Nation are `fair and generous', as you suggest at the foot of the third page of your letter. Fairness -- let alone generosity -- would demand the payment of compensation for the many millions of dollars worth of oil illegally removed from Lubicon territory by energy corporations since 1979. Basic justice demands that the Lubicon people be provided with sufficient financial and educational assistance to construct a new, self-sufficient, mixed economy on the ruins of the way of life which oil activity so wantonly destroyed.

It is with regret that we feel obliged to agree with you that a meeting between us would not hasten a settlement. Only a just and reasonable offer from the government of Canada to the Lubicon Nation will achieve a settlement. We had hoped that the continuing expression of disquiet by people in Britain and elsewhere in Europe might encourage the government of Canada to act with honour and generosity in this matter.

On behalf of Bishop Tripp and the Committee of Catholic Action for Native America 1992, I wish you a happy and blessed new year. We all hope fervently that it will be a year of happiness and blessings for the Lubicon Nation as well.

Yours faithfully,

Richard Solly