MP's Letter to Indian Affairs Minister Regarding Lubicon

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

June 02, 1993

Enclosed for your information is a copy of a letter to Federal Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon supporting the recommendations of the Lubicon Settlement Commission. The letter is from Ethel Blondin-Andrew, Member of Parliament for the Western Arctic and Aboriginal Affairs Critic for the Liberal Party of Canada.

May 25, 1993, letter to Tom Siddon from Ethel Blondin-Andrew

Dear Mr. Siddon:

I am writing in regards to the Lubicon Cree of Northern Alberta and their struggle for more than forty years to secure a permanent land base. Their outstanding land claim has not only been a disgrace to Canada, this issue has grabbed the world's attention and is now considered an international human rights issue. As you are well aware, negotiations have not taken place between the Lubicon people and the federal government since 1989, at which time the federal government made a "take-it-or-leave-it" offer, which did not compensate the Lubicon for lost benefits or oil revenues, nor did it offer a chance for the Lubicon to develop a self-sufficient land base.

The Federal Government's failure and subsequent inaction, to resolve the Lubicon issue despite the U.N. Human Rights Committee statement that the Canadian government's treatment of the Lubicon threatens their way of life and culture and constitutes a violation of Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has been a clear indication to all Canadians, that this Government has reneged on its fiduciary responsibility.

Too much time has already been wasted on studies, reports and bureaucratic mechanisms which have only delayed and diminished Lubicon progress. The priority must be, to resolve each issue as quickly as is possible. I urge that as Minister, you actively support the recommendations in the Final Report by the Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review, starting with recommendation #5 which suggests that beginning immediately, all royalties be held in trust and that no additional permits or leases be granted on traditional Lubicon lands without Lubicon approval. With multinational corporations continuing to extract over one million dollars each day from Lubicon land, it is absolutely imperative that as the Minister, you make a commitment at once, to end third party pillaging of Lubicon resources. I would also urge you to consider recommendation #8, which states that extinguishment of aboriginal rights, including land rights, not be a condition for settlement.

It is the hope of the Lubicon people and that of Canadians across the country, myself included, that the Prime Minister (or his expected replacement) and his government will respond to the Report's recommendations. As the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, you must find the political will and return at once to the negotiating table to resolve this outstanding land claim and international human rights issue.

I hope that you will give your earliest attention to this issue. I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely, Ethel Blondin-Andrew, M.P.