Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Little Buffalo Lake, AB
3536 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T6J 1A4
March 11, 1993
Attached for your information is a copy of an "Official Canadian Government Statement" on the Lubicon situation being distributed by Canadian Consulates in Europe, a copy of a letter sent by Member of Parliament Ross Harvey to Federal Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon regarding that so-called "Official Canadian Government Statement", and a copy of a press statement issued by Mr. Harvey on both the so-called "Official Canadian Government Statement" and on his letter to Mr. Siddon.
It appears that the size of the lies told by Canadian Government officials about the Lubicon situation is limited only by what they think they can get away with, and that they think they can get away with more in Europe than they can in Canada. They should know better by now. A copy of the so-called "Official Canadian Government Statement" was faxed to the Lubicons by German supporters within a week of it being distributed to the German media by the Canadian Consulate in Duesseldorf.
The Germans of course learned about "big lie" propaganda techniques when they were governed by a similarly unscrupulous bunch during the 1930's and 40's.
March 11, 1993, Federal M.P. Ross Harvey News Release
HARVEY CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO "STOP SPREADING LIES" ABOUT LUBICON DISPUTE
OTTAWA: Edmonton East NDP M.P. and long-time Lubicon Nation sympathizer Ross Harvey has written to Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon demanding the Government "stop spreading lies" in a document being distributed in Germany.
"The Goverment's Official Statement Concerning the Lubicon Claim Question is false propaganda, disinformation pure and simple," said Harvey in releasing copies of his letter to Siddon. "This is exactly the sort of thing the KGB used to get up to."
Harvey said the document was being distributed out of the Canadian Consulate General in Duesseldorf, principally to news reporters, but as well to other interested Germans.
"They lie about the Lubicons' land claim, and they lie about the Report of the United Nations Human Rights Committee," said Harvey.
He said the reason for the Government's action was clear: "There is tremendous support for the Lubicon people in Germany and across Europe generally.
"The ongoing plight of the Band, and the ongoing refusal of the Government to negotiate in good faith, is a major international disgrace for Canada, one from which our country continues to suffer.
"But, rather than correct the problem by negotiating a fair settlement with the Lubicon people, the Government instead chooses to attempt to deceive reporters and interested citizens at home and overseas. It's a shame and a disgrace," said Harvey.
"Siddon should withdraw this vile little exercise in mendacity immediately, and circulate corrective truthful information as soon as possible."
For More Information: (613) 92-2289
March 11, 1993, letter to Federal Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon from Federal M.P. Ross Harvey
Dear Mr. Siddon,
I am in possession of a German-language document recently distributed to news reporters and other interested parties in Germany by the Canadian Consulate General in Duesseldorf. The undated document is entitled "Canadian Official Statement Concerning the Lubicon Claim Question".
Although some elements of the "Official Statement" are accurate, many are distortions of the truth and at least two are lies.
In that last category must be numbered the following two excerpts:
"Die Stammesgruppe verlangt (zusätzlich zu dem bereits vereinbarten Reservatland) nunmehr 10,000 qkm land..."
(translation: "The Band now demands (in addition to the reserve lands already agreed upon) 10,000 square kilometres of land..."); and,
"...das Komitee der Überzeugung dass das Angebot der Regierung fair und annehmbar sei, und alle Verpflichtungen, die die Regienung unter dem Aspekt der "International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights" (Internationale Vereinbarung über bürgerliche und politische Rechte) hat, erfüllt würden. Es hatte ebenfalls festgestellt, dass die Regierung: "vorgeschlagen hatte, die Situation (die der Lubicon) so und in einer solchen, den Vorstellungen des Komitees entsprechenden Weise im Rahmen des Artikels 2 der Vereinbartung, richtig zu stellen"...
(translation: the Committee is of the opinion that the offer by the Government is fair and acceptable, and that all obligations which the Government has under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are fulfilled by the offer. The Committee also found that the Government "...proposes to rectify the situation by a remedy that the Committee deems appropriate within the meaning of Article 2 of the Covenant".) ("The Committee" referred to in this instance is the Human Rights Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which released its report of its "views" on the Lubicon situation on March 26, 1990.)
As regards the first assertion -- that the Band is demanding 10,000 square kilometres of land -- this can only be deemed a maliciously crafted absurdity. Anyone even remotely conversant with the history of Lubicon negotiations will find the assertion puzzling if not laughable.
The Band continues to seek 200 square kilometres of full reserve land (including sub-surface rights), and an additional 40 square kilometres of reserve land on which only surface rights would be enjoyed (the Crown in Right of Alberta would retain the sub-surface rights).
(I suspect the genesis of the wild assertion that the Band is demanding 10,000 square kilometres of land can be found in a wilful distortion of one of the matters discussed by Chief Ominayak and then-Premier Getty at Grimshaw in 1989, and subsequently successfully negotiated: a joint wildlife management and environmental protection agreement between the Band and Alberta covering the approximately 10,000 square kilometres of land comprising the Band's traditional hunting and trapping areas.)
The second assertion -- concerning the findings of the U.N.'s Human Rights Committee -- is equally mendacious. You will surely recall that the Report is silent on the question of the merits of the Government's offer (as it stood at the time of the Committee's deliberations). And, as the Committee's Report itself noted in the sentence immediately preceding the sentence directly quoted by the Government, "Historical inequities, to which the State party refers, and certain more recent developments threaten the way of life and culture of the Lubicon Lake Band, and constitute a violation of article 27 so long as they continue." You will know, Mr. Minister, the Committee is of the opinion that, indeed, these violations are continuing.
Further, the "...remedy tat the Committee deems appropriate within the meaning of article 2 of the Covenant...", a remedy which the Government in its German Official Statement implies is the Government's offer of that time to the Band, was no such thing. The remedy referred to by the Committee was the remedy of reasonable, good-faith negotiations between the Government and the Band of the sort that has led to treaty agreements and land claims settlements in the past. What the Government falsely portrays as an endorsement of its negotiating position by the U.N. Committee was in fact an endorsement of the process of negotiation, a process which the Committee hoped and believed would lead to an end to those "historical inequities" and "more recent developments" which "threaten the way of life and culture of the Lubicon Lake Band".
Mr. Minister, that such violence should be done to the truth in an official statement by the Canadian Government is alarming, if not exactly unprecedented. However, that it should be done in the service of a propaganda war being waged in foreign lands by a Canadian Government apparently determined to crush a long-suffering and courageous Indian Nation is vile.
Justice and honour require the immediate discontinuation of the circulation of this offensive little piece of disinformation, and the issuance of corrective material to any person known to have received it.
I look forward to your early response and action in these regards.
English Translation of "Official Canadian Government Statement" on the Lubicon Situation Being Distributed to the Media by the Canadian Consulate General in Duesseldorf, Germany (February 1993)
Official Statement by the Canadian Government Concerning the Lubicon Claim Question
The Claims by the Lubicon Lake Indian Band
In 1980 the Lubicon Lake Indian Band made the following claims in the Federal Court of Canada against the Governments of Canada and Alberta and against 10 different oil companies:
- aboriginal land rights to 10% of the total land of the Province of Alberta;
- the right to satisfaction as Treaty 8 Indians based on compensation payments, and;
- the allocation of a promised reserve, which they have never received.
With this claim the 200 member Band demanded legal title to 65,000 sq. km. of land and one billion dollars Canadian in compensation.
The Federal Government rejected this claim pointing out that the Lubicon Lake Indians legally ceded their basic right to territorial property in Northern Alberta with Treaty 8. However, the Government accepted that land should be set aside for a reserve plus the Lubicon Lake Indians have a legal claim to payment of compensation according to Treaty 8.
A formal, comprehensive offer was made to a 300 member group of Lubicon Indians in January of 1989. This offer contains a binding promise by the Province of Alberta to provide 243 sq. km. of land including mines and minerals for the establishment of a reserve. This part of the offer has been accepted by the Lubicon Lake Band. In addition the Canadian Government offered the Lubicon Lake Indian Band $34 million Canadian for the construction of a new community including 133 houses, an administrative office, a water and sewer system, a community hall and a school. The Federal Government also offered $10.4 million Canadian for economic development. This offer is intended to provide the Lubicon Band with the possibility of either leading a traditional way of life or participating in the modern Canadian economy. However this "damage repair package" has been rejected by the Lubicon Chief. The Band now demands 10,000 sq. km. of land (in addition to the reserve lands already agreed upon), compensation of $120 million Canadian, $63 million Canadian for infrastructure and another $4 million in legal and advisory costs. Largely conditioned by this rejection of the Federal offer many members of the Lubicon Lake Band joined a new group -- the Woodland Cree Indian Band -- which was recognized by the Federal Government in 1989. Meanwhile this new Band signed a land claim agreement with the Federal Government.
A new negotiation offer was presented to the Lubicon Lake Band in July, 1992. The main items of this new offer include:
- the 243 sq. km. offered by the Alberta Provincial Government in 1989, which is currently valued at $10.5 million Canadian. This offer would enable the creation of the 6th largest reserve in Alberta for the 29th largest Band.
- a compensation payment by the Federal Government amounting to $53 million Canadian over a 5 year period, based on a Band membership of 500 persons claimed by the Band. This payment includes $38 million Canadian for new and relocated houses, a water and sewer system, roads, electricity, an administration office, a community hall, a medical centre, a fire department and a school with accommodation for teachers. It also includes $12.5 million Canadian for economic development and $2.5 million as an incentive to settle.
- binding arbitration of Lubicon compensation claims.
This offer is based on extensive negotiations between leading Indians, government representatives, politicians and lawyers. Although this is one of the most generous negotiated offers ever presented to an Indian Band, the Lubicon Chief rejected it in August of 1992.
Complaint by the Lubicon Band before the United Nations
In 1984 the Lubicon Lake Indian Band addressed the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations. After a lengthy investigation of the situation the Committee stated in its final report in 1990:
- that the Canadian Government has unfulfilled obligations to the Lubicon which have been recognized by the Government and which the Government has attempted to resolve through lengthy negotiations,
- that the Lubicon have suffered from historical injustices and that their way of life and their culture under present conditions is endangered.
- At the same time the Committee is of the opinion that the offer by the Government is fair and acceptable and that all obligations which the Government has under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are fulfilled by the offer. Furthermore the Committee stated that the Government "proposed to rectify the situation (of the Lubicon) in a way which is in the view of the Committee within the framework provided by Article 2 of the Covenant". As was already stated this 1989 offer has been significantly enhanced but was again rejected by the Chief of the Lubicon Lake Indian Band.
- The Committee also indicated "that further allegations which focused on extremely serious violations of other paragraphs of the Covenant cannot be upheld in a way that requires serious consideration". It (the Committee) added "that the recent allegations that Canada conspired to create an artificial Indian Band, the Woodland Cree, who are in turn competing with the traditional Lubicon Cree land claims", were dismissed as a misuse of the right of application.
By publicizing their situation with the Canadian Government, in the United Nations and through environmental and human rights organizations around the world, the Lubicon Lake Indian Band brought international attention that their traditional hunting grounds, which are to a large extent situated in forest areas, are threatened by timber harvesting. It has to be pointed out that these complaints are not referring to the lands which have been offered to the Lubicon Lake Indian Band as a potential reserve but to the larger area to which the Lubicons do not have exclusive title because it is inhabited by other aboriginal people as well. It also has to be pointed out that timber harvesting is permitted in Treaty 8.
In September, 1989 the Alberta Provincial Government signed a forest management agreement with the pulp and paper company Daishowa Canada Ltd. which extends onto the area claimed by the Lubicon Lake Indian Band. In this agreement it is said that only a small part of the forest is allowed to be harvested to ensure the re-growth of the trees. It also explicitly states that no timber harvesting is to take place on the proposed reserve. To avoid a confrontation with the Lubicon Lake Indian Band the Daishowa Company voluntarily decided not to harvest trees in the 10,000 sq. km. claimed by the Indians.