Liberal Party Convention Resolution

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

May 21, 1994

On May 13, 14 and 15 the Liberal Party of Canada met in Convention and, among other things, passed a resolution calling upon the Liberal Government of Canada to settle Lubicon land rights. Reportedly the Lubicons are the only Indian Band in Canada specifically mentioned in resolutions passed during the Liberal Party Convention.

Attached for your information is a copy of the resolution which urges the Liberal Government of Canada to settle Lubicon land rights. Settlement of Lubicon land rights is the subject of point 5 of the Liberal Party resolution regarding the handling of aboriginal land claims.

Also attached is a copy of a newspaper article on a speech made to the Liberal Party Convention by Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and an earlier letter which he sent to a Lubicon supporter prior to his election. In his speech Prime Minister Chretien warned the Convention about "what happens when a government loses touch and forgets its commitments to Canadians". His letter talks about a "swift resolution of all claims...(with)...the Lubicon claim...a priority".

The Liberal Party resolution is a timely reminder for the Liberal Government of the commitments people expect it to keep.

Attachment #1: Excerpt from "Priority Resolutions" passed at the Liberal Party of Canada convention, May 13-15, 1994

5. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Liberal Party of Canada urges the Government of Canada to resolve the Lubicon Cree Land and Compensation Claim as a top priority within a mutually acceptable time-frame or, if necessary, by the independent claims commission referred to in the 1992 Priority Resolution on Treaties and Claims and the 1993 Aboriginal Platform.

Attachment #2: The Edmonton Journal, Monday, May 16, 1994


Don't get complacent, he says

Joan Bryden

Southam News for The Journal


Prime Minister Jean Chretien wrapped up a three-day Liberal love-in Sunday, warning party members that complacency is the biggest threat facing the fledgling government.

"My dear friends, we must not become complacent. We must continue to work every day to earn the trust, to earn the respect, to earn the confidence of Canadians." Chretien told about 2,000 Grits after winning a ringing endorsement from 91.2 per cent of the rank-and- file.

"We must never, never take the people for granted."

Chretien reminded delegates that the previous Tory government was reduced to a humiliating two seats last October and warned that the same thing could happen to Liberals.

"Every day in the House of Commons, I look across the floor and I see in the corner there the two Tories -- two nice persons but very lonely, two very lonely reminders of what happens when a government loses touch and forgets its commitment to Canadians".

Chretien lauded delegates for approving dozens of policy resolutions, which he called proof that "we can be both the governing party and the party of new ideas".

But the resolutions were mainly on motherhood or reaffirmations of existing government policy -- a reflection of delegates' zeal to present a united front.

Only one sparked any real debate -- a proposal to recognize same-sex marriages -- and it was soundly defeated.

All other potentially controversial resolutions were watered down in behind-the-scenes negotiations among provincial delegations and passed at the plenary session with virtually no debate.

For instance, a resolution calling for national education standards was diluted, at the behest of Quebec delegates, to avoid giving separatists any ammunition to use in the upcoming Quebec election about Ottawa trying to intrude on provincial jurisdiction. In the end, delegates agreed simply that Ottawa should urge the provinces to develop national standards.

The tone of the convention was so resolutely upbeat and uncritical that even some Liberals were privately concerned that it appeared contrived.

Chretien echoed the feeling, joking he was glad he didn't get 10-per- cent endorsement.

"I would have been disappointed if they had all voted for me. I would have said there was something fishy about it."

Attachment #3: May 27, 1993, letter from Jean Chretien to Friends of the Lubicon Toronto

Dear Group Members:

Thank you for your letter regarding the final report of the Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review.

The Liberal Party understands your concern. For more than fifty years, the Lubicon have struggled to secure a permanent land base -- and the means to preserve their way of life. Unfortunately, negotiations between the Lubicon and the federal government have been suspended since 1989. We believe that the government has reneged on its fiduciary responsibility to the Lubicon People.

Time is wasting. Innumerable studies and reports have been prepared over past years, and they have only served to slow progress in the negotiations for a land and resource base. It is time for action. As a start, we believe the government should proceed with recommendation number five of the Settlement Commission report to hold all royalties in trust and withhold leases and permits on traditional Lubicon lands -- unless approved by the Lubicon. Moreover, future negotiations should reflect the intent of recommendation number eight, asserting that the extinguishment of Aboriginal rights must not be a condition for a settlement -- a position consistent with Liberal policy.

Ethel Blondin-Andrew, Liberal Critic for Aboriginal Affairs, has urged the government to renew negotiations with the Lubicon and resolve this issue, once and for all. While it is doubtful whether the current government possesses the will to do so, you can be assured that Liberals will continue to press the Conservatives to respond to the recommendations of the Settlement Commission and resume negotiations.

We support the swift resolution of all claims, and consider the Lubicon claim to be a priority. As Leader of the Opposition, I appreciate the time you have taken to write and bring your views to my attention.


Jean Chretien