Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Little Buffalo Lake, AB
3536 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T6J 1A4
June 23, 1994
Following the March 20th mail-out on the Laboucan family initiative letters poured in from across the country and around the world. Copies of selected letters are attached for your information.
As a result of these letters Federal Indian Affairs Minister Ron Irwin has now made clear in writing that the Woodland settlement will not be re-opened effectively blocking the Laboucan family initiative since disgruntled Woodlanders will not accept members of the Laboucan family unless they are given more land and money. And TransCanada Pipeline President Gerald Maier has made it clear in writing that TransCanada Vice President Bob Young "has concluded his involvement with this matter". (The political lesson here is an important one -- on both scores. Some kinds of actions -- and some kinds of creatures -- simply cannot survive being exposed to the light of day.)
There has also been a Lubicon election in which Chief Ominayak's leadership was aggressively challenged by essentially the same people who were earlier being solicited to join the Woodland Band -- re-directed, some believe, in much the same way as the 1989 effort to politically overthrow duly elected Lubicon leadership was re-directed to create the Woodland Band after it failed to accomplish its original purpose. (As one might imagine under such circumstances voter participation in this recent Lubicon election was high -- higher than any previous Lubicon election. Chief Ominayak won handily with a two to one plurality squarely putting to rest charges made as part of the Laboucan family initiative that he no longer enjoys the confidence and support of the Lubicon people.)
However not all of the news is quite so simple, straightforward and up-beat. Despite reassuring letters which Mr. Irwin is sending to Lubicon supporters reaffirming his commitment to settle Lubicon land rights there's plenty of reason for concern that his apparently good faith efforts are still being effectively undermined by a combination of Federal officials and assorted co-conspirators. In addition Provincial Native Affairs Minister Mike Cardinal is responding to letters from concerned people with worrisome form letters carefully crafted to hedge Provincial settlement commitments and to create the kind of self-serving illusions characteristic of the Provincial bureaucrats who originally helped author the plight of the Lubicons and then subverted Premier Getty's efforts to resolve the matter. (One novel twist to some of Mr. Cardinal's recent letters written to a number of people in Europe is a little hand written supposedly personal note from Mr. Cardinal -- a form hand-written personal note at the bottom of a form letter if you will -- suggesting darkly with that "there are two sides to this issue" and offering to give people from Europe "a free education" if they come to Alberta. (Attempting to take Mr. Cardinal up on his offer of "a free education" some Swiss journalists recently asked for a meeting with him to discuss the Lubicon situation. Mr. Cardinal was predictably unavailable to be interviewed by the Swiss journalists.)
Mr. Irwin became Federal Indian Affairs Minister last November and moved quickly to circumvent and/or cut out certain people who were generally acknowledged to be impediments to the objectives he wished to pursue -- including a settlement of Lubicon land rights. Some of the people everybody knew had to cut out or at least circumvented were Mr. Irwin's Deputy Minister Danny Goodleaf and his Associate Deputy Minister Rick Van Loon -- both of whom were appointed by the previous Mulroney Government, both of whom are highly political and both of whom were closely associated with Mulroney Government dirty tricks. Others everybody knew had to go were a Federal Justice Department lawyer and long-time professional obstructionist named Ivan Whitehall and a Calgary lawyer named Brian Malone (whom the Mulroney gang originally appointed supposedly to negotiate Lubicon land rights and then used to help create the new Woodland and Loon River Bands).
Serious tensions between Mr. Irwin and his senior officials have been a matter of public knowledge from the beginning of his tenure with periodic reports that Mr. Irwin is winning the struggle for control but considerable evidence that it's not that simple. Malone was given his walking papers by Mr. Irwin in early December but he didn't walk any farther than the Federal Department of Justice where he continues his involvement with the Lubicon issue working in tandem with Justice Department lawyer Whitehall. Similarly Whitehall has been pronounced "history" by Mr. Irwin on a number of occasions but Whitehall has been pronounced "history" by several of Mr. Irwin's Ministerial predecessors all of whom are of course long since gone while Mr. Whitehall is still carrying on -- and in fact still doing the very things which have prompted so many to conclude rightly that he's a major impediment to settling anything.
As an alterative to the other-directed gang of miscreants he inherited from the Mulroney Government Mr. Irwin proceeded to identify a number of hopefully non-aligned, mid-management Indian Affairs bureaucrats working in Regional Indian Affairs offices around the country upon whom he might depend to carry forward the various initiatives which he wished to pursue -- like settlement of Lubicon land rights. Clearly Mr. Irwin intended by this approach to evolve a new bureaucracy more responsive to his direction out of people in the current bureaucracy -- not a bad strategy but one which Machiavelli could have told Mr. Irwin requires careful planning, precise timing and immediate follow-through once begun. (Having dumped Malone in early December, however, Mr. Irwin didn't get around to identifying someone in the Alberta Regional Office to deal with Lubicon land rights until the middle of February -- and he didn't move to actually give that person an appropriate mandate until the middle of March -- by which time Mr. Irwin had predictably been bamboozled, spun around, set-up, tripped-up and outmaneuvered by the very people he sought to circumvent or cut out.)
Calgary-based Malone officially "resigned" as Lubicon negotiator on December 21st. However on December 16th -- well after all concerned knew Mr. Irwin's intention to cut him out -- Malone was in Ottawa meeting with Justice Department lawyer Whitehall and with Indian Affairs Claims Director John Sinclair agreeing that Malone would "continue as agent of the Attorney General for Canada (re: Lubicon Land Claim and Litigation)...(and that he would)...be available...to assist in the preparation of a (related) memorandum to Cabinet". (Also meeting with Departmental officials in mid-December was another Calgary-based lawyer named Bob Young. Young was in Ottawa in mid-December meeting with Deputy Minister Goodleaf to discuss the Laboucan family initiative -- something else which Mr. Irwin neither approved nor supported. Thus there were notably two lawyers both from the oil capital of Canada meeting in far off Ottawa with senior officials of the Department of Indian Affairs about things known to be contrary to the new Minister's wishes at the very same time that Mr. Irwin was moving to try and assume control of his new Ministry -- try computing the odds of all of that happening simultaneously by mere coincidence.)
Moreover the shift of Malone over to the Department of Justice to assist with Lubicon "litigation" and to help draft "a memorandum to Cabinet" was remarkably prescient on the part of Messrs. Whitehall, Malone and Sinclair -- if it wasn't in fact part of a deliberate plot on their part to subvert Mr. Irwin. Mr. Irwin would not learn until the following April that the "lead role" in handling the Lubicon file would "have to be taken over by Justice because (supposedly) the case is before the courts" -- Lubicon "litigation" ala Mr. Malone's Justice Department mandate if you will despite the fact that there's been nothing directly pertaining to Lubicon land rights before the Canadian courts since 1988. Nor would Mr. Irwin learn until the following April that the pivotal "memorandum to Cabinet" regarding how to proceed with negotiation of Lubicon land rights would therefore have to be drafted by people at Justice just as envisioned by Whitehall, Malone and Sinclair the preceding December -- despite the fact that the Minister of Indian Affairs has always carried the lead role in negotiation of Lubicon land rights even when the issue of Lubicon land rights was actively before the Canadian courts.
Thus apparently having sized-up the new Minister and decided upon a strategy to end-run him -- Whitehall, Malone and their colleagues at Indian Affairs commenced their campaign to variously impugn Mr. Irwin's judgment and consequently develop the basis for arguing within the Federal bureaucracy and politically that responsibility for playing the "lead role" in handling the issue of Lubicon land rights should be transferred to their pre-prepared base at the Justice Department. Insight into this campaign can be gleaned from the reaction of Messrs. Goodleaf, Van Loon and Departmental Specific Claims Director Rem Westland when Mr. Irwin confronted them in early April over their scandalous handling of the Lubicon situation. Messrs. Goodleaf, Van Loon and Westland met Mr. Irwin head-on telling him that there is no existing Governmental mechanism which can handle a Lubicon settlement. They told him that the Lubicons are demanding a settlement worth $200 million dollars. They told him that a $200 million dollar settlement is worth several times more than other recent settlements. They demanded to know where he is going to get $200 million. And they demanded to know how he is going to justify a Lubicon settlement worth several times more than other recent settlements. (Notably these phoney allegations and arguments by senior Federal officials are based on the same misleading information and analysis of recent settlements given to Mr. Getty by senior Provincial officials in November of 1989 -- allegations which Mr. Getty rejected after discussing them with Chief Ominayak and realizing that the numbers given to him had been deliberately misrepresented to create purposefully false impressions.)
On February 10th Mr. Irwin's personal staff identified candidates from the Regional Office to do the necessary follow-up on the Minister's February 18th meeting with the Lubicons. One Regional Office official was selected by February 17th and asked to travel with Mr. Irwin to the February 18th meeting. This person was then widely presumed by people in both levels of Canadian Government to be the Minister's choice for new Lubicon negotiator and an attack on his credentials and objectivity predictably began immediately as part of the continuing campaign to impugn Mr. Irwin's judgment and consequently further support the argument that responsibility for playing the "lead role" in handling the issue of Lubicon land rights should be transferred to the little bunch conveniently entrenched over at the Justice Department waiting to receive it.
On February 18th Mr. Irwin asked Chief Ominayak for written proposals on how to proceed with Lubicon negotiations. He promised to respond within a few days of receiving the Chief's proposals.
On March 1st Chief Ominayak faxed Mr. Irwin Lubicon negotiation proposals. Receipt of Lubicon negotiation proposals was confirmed by Mr. Irwin's office that same day. Consistent with their discussion during the February 18th meeting the Chief asked that the Minister appoint a negotiator:
Regarding the substance of the negotiations the Chief proposed to start with well known and detailed Lubicon settlement proposals as up-dated by the jointly agreed independent cost assessor.
Regarding issues which cannot be resolved through negotiation the Chief proposed that such issues be referred to the independent three person tribunal originally put forward by Premier Getty -- and that the decisions of this three person independent tribunal be binding on the parties and not appealable to the Canadian courts. (The independent three person tribunal originally put forward by Premier Getty would consist of one person selected by the Canadian Government, one person selected by the Government of the Lubicon people and a third person selected by the first two.)
On March 7th the Lubicons received a phone call from Mr. Irwin's office asking that Lubicon proposals be re-faxed because some of the lines in the earlier fax communication were blurred and couldn't be read.
On March 18th Mr. Irwin was scheduled to meet with officials of the Alberta Regional Office "to talk about the Lubicon letter (on re-starting negotiations) and how to approach things". However the meeting was cancelled at the last minute. Instead a decision was somehow taken to send the Lubicons a letter acknowledging receipt of Lubicon negotiation proposals and "to set up an internal committee to look at the process".
Three days later -- on March 21st -- Malone wrote to Whitehall "confirm(ing) the scope of (Malone's) current engagement as agent of the Attorney General for Canada (re: Lubicon Lake Land Claim and Litigation) as discussed with (Whitehall) and John Sinclair on December 16, 1993 and with (Whitehall) again yesterday". The letter continues "I (Malone) will be available to you (Whitehall) ...to assist in the preparation of a memorandum to Cabinet and any other support services thereafter that may be required". A noted copy of Malone's letter was sent to Associate Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs Rick Van Loon. (It was later learned that the "internal committee" to whom the question of "process" had been referred consisted entirely of Associate Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs Rick Van Loon.)
On March 22nd Malone wrote Whitehall again -- again with a noted copy going to Associate Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs Rick Van Loon -- this time basically denying for the record that the Laboucan family initiative "is simply the result of an active and continuing conspiracy as between Mr. Young and myself to destroy the balance of the Lubicon Band".
Obviously believing that it looked better if the Laboucan family initiative started before election of the Chretien Government, instead of commencing without the authority of the new Minister Irwin after Mr. Irwin had been appointed, Malone claims in this March 22nd letter that talk about re-opening Woodland negotiations to accommodate Lubicons who wished to join the Woodland Band went back to October of 1992. (All other information, including statements by Woodland Chief Billy Thomas and members of the Laboucan family, indicates that the Laboucan family initiative in fact started in December of 1993 -- well after Mr. Irwin became Federal Indian Affairs Minister.)
Mr. Malone then proceeds in his March 22nd letter to try and characterize the Laboucan family initiative as an initiative of the Woodland Band which was neither encouraged nor supported by himself or by Federal officials -- a flatly ludicrous proposition both in light of what's known about the Laboucan family initiative and in light of what's known about who calls the shots for the Woodland Cree Band.
Invoking the classic Eichmann defense that he was only following orders Malone claims in this March 22nd letter that he participated in meetings about re-opening Woodland negotiations on the instructions of then Associate Deputy Minister Fred Drummie. Notably the people Malone admits meeting on the instructions of Drummie are Woodland Advisor (and Bob Young's right-hand man) Jack Tulley and Regional Office Official Roger Cardinal (who'd of course also been heavily involved along with Malone in setting-up both the Woodland and Loon River Bands).
Following his official resignation as Lubicon negotiator on December 21st, Malone says, he "referred Mr. Tulley and subsequently Mr. Young to either (DM) Dan Goodleaf or (Specific Claims Director) Rem Westland". (Westland is also Roger Cardinal's "functional" supervisor.)
Malone concludes his March 22nd letter by advising Whitehall (and Van Loon) "You should be aware that (Alberta Provincial) Premier Klein had a meeting with the Woodland Cree after (meeting with) Mr. Irwin and has stated that the province is prepared to deal with the dissidents as part of a re-opened Woodland claim". (Presumably Malone is referring to the February 21st meeting in High Prairie reported in the March 20th mail-out. Reports on what transpired at that meeting have varied with members of the Laboucan family basically saying the same thing as Malone but with Provincial officials claiming that the Premier only agreed to meet members of the Laboucan family. On balance it now appears likely that Provincial officials lied and that Mr. Klein did agree to re-open Woodland negotiations during his meeting with the Woodlanders on February 21st. It also seems likely that Malone is trying to engage in a little realpolitik by including this information is his "for the record" letter. However this time fancy footwork avails Malone and Co. nothing -- Woodland negotiations can't be re-opened unless Mr. Irwin agrees and under the circumstances Mr. Irwin isn't likely to agree.)
Also on March 22nd Mr. Irwin and his Executive Assistant Brad Morse met with Church leaders to discuss the Lubicon situation. Shortly after the meeting began Mr. Irwin had to leave to participate in a vote in Parliament and he did not return until shortly before the meeting ended. Most of the meeting was therefore conducted by Mr. Morse on Mr. Irwin's behalf.
Mr. Morse told Church leaders that he understood the Woodland Cree had been promised $150,000 for each Lubicon recruited. However, he said, this promise will not be kept. He said that the message had gone to senior officials that Mr. Irwin will neither support nor tolerate such behaviour. (This report from no less a source than the Minister's right hand man provides additional insight into the lengths to which the Mulroney gang was prepared to go in order to undermine and subvert the Lubicon society -- and the lengths to which holdovers from the Mulroney gang were still prepared to go apparently on their own authority after the Mulroney gang was thrown out of office. It also provides further insight into the pressures to which the Lubicon people have been subjected -- after all not many societies could long withstand unscrupulous two-legged skunks slinking around with bags of money containing hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to buy up their citizens.)
Mr. Morse told the Church leaders that Mr. Irwin had received Chief Ominayak's proposals on re-starting negotiations and that they are "developing a response". Notably he said that one of the things they're doing is "trying to find out what agreements had been signed that might not have been made public". (Just the fact of the Minister "trying to find out what agreements had been signed that might not have been made public" speaks volumes about the nature of the relationship between Mr. Irwin and his senior officials.)
Mr. Morse also said that he and Mr. Irwin "were hoping for a more straightforward letter (from the Lubicons)". He said that "the (Lubicon) letter was not as clear as (they) were anticipating". He said that they were "having to pick out parts and respond". He said that they "either have to engage in further discussions or appoint someone". And he said that "The Minister will make a formal response to the (Lubicon) letter identifying a negotiator and clarifying the proposal for a process". (Blaming the Lubicon letter for Mr. Irwin's failure to respond as promised "within a few days" of receiving Lubicon negotiation proposals appears to be a way of trying to disguise the real reason why an answer had not been forthcoming as promised; namely, an internal struggle for control over the Lubicon file. In fact there's nothing particularly complicated or indirect about Lubicon settlement proposals -- a copy of which is attached.)
Towards the end of the meeting Mr. Irwin returned and provided further insight into the way that his senior officials are seeking to keep him off balance. He said "There is one pot of money for the Lubicons". He said "It's already been largely doled out to Loon and the Woodland". He said "That's a problem". (Needless to say that's not the way government finances work. There's not "one pot of money for the Lubicons" which once expended on other things is gone and no longer available. The real financial questions faced by Government rather always pertain to priorities for money. Moreover, as Church leaders pointed out to Messrs. Irwin and Morse, the value of the resources being illegally expropriated from unceded Lubicon lands in a single year far exceeds the amount required to settle Lubicon land rights, most of the people on the Loon and Woodland Band lists aren't Lubicons in any case, the individuals involved with the Woodland and Loon Bands have in fact received little more than what they're entitled to receive in their own right as status Indians in Canada anyway, and both of these two new Bands -- who've supposedly now been given the money set aside to settle Lubicon land rights -- were in fact specifically created by the Canadian Federal Government to subvert Lubicon land rights.)
On March 28th Lubicon advisor Fred Lennarson learned from contacts in Ottawa of an official Government report which listed "a Laboucan land in severalty settlement in northern Alberta". Land in severalty is a little used provision of Treaty 8 which provides reserve land apart from the main reserve for members of an aboriginal society who do not wish to live with other members of that aboriginal society. A land in severalty settlement in northern Alberta involving someone named Laboucan almost certainly related one way or another to the on-going Lubicon struggle.
Lennarson therefore phoned the Alberta Regional Office of Indian Affairs and requested a copy of the report listing the "Laboucan land in severalty settlement". Lennarson's call was directed to Regional Office Land Claims Manager Roger Cardinal who pretended that he didn't know anything about any such Government report, pretended that he'd never heard of Lennarson and pretended that he couldn't "remember any Laboucan severalty settlement". However, Cardinal said, he'd check and get back to Lennarson "through the (Regional) Information Office".
Following Lennarson's call Cardinal immediately sought Justice Department advise on what to do with Lennarson's legitimate information request. He was tersely instructed "Don't tell Lennarson fuck all -- tell him to make application under the Freedom of Information Act. " (Any request for information under the Freedom of Information Act would of course have been fought for any number of phoney reasons -- as earlier happened to John Goddard when he was researching his book on the Lubicons -- in spite of the fact that the existence of any Laboucan land in severalty agreement is technically public information, and in spite of the fact that Lennarson is an official agent of the Band to which this particular land in severalty agreement was almost certainly attached.)
Not inclined to accept Roger Cardinal as the final authority on anything Lennarson pursued information on the "Laboucan land in severalty settlement in northern Alberta" through his own contacts. Shortly thereafter he managed to obtain complete information on the "Laboucan land in severalty settlement". As suspected the "Laboucan land in severalty settlement" involved a member of the Lubicon Band named Henry Laboucan and 8 members of Henry Laboucan's family.
Henry Laboucan is a kind of half-ass Lubicon. His mother was a Lubicon -- his father was not. His mother left his father when he was a couple of years old and moved in with a Lubicon man -- leaving the Lubicon man as well a few years later and moving out of the traditional Lubicon territory altogether in the late 1940s to re-locate at a place near Lesser Slave Lake called Grouard.
In the early 1970s Henry Laboucan applied to the Federal Government to be added to the Lubicon Band list based on a falsified statement that the Lubicon man with whom his mother had lived for a few years when he was a child was his natural father. The Lubicon man signed the statement for cultural reasons -- in the Lubicon society the man who raises you is called your father.
Following the Grimshaw Accord Henry Laboucan contacted Provincial MLA Larry Shaben and asked about land in severalty. At that time Henry Laboucan believed that a Lubicon settlement was close, he was a member of the Lubicon Band and he didn't want to live on a Lubicon reserve at Lubicon Lake. He wanted to live where he had lived most of his life -- at Grouard.
Larry Shaben referred Henry Laboucan's request for land in severalty to the Provincial negotiating team. The Provincial negotiating team referred Henry Laboucan's request for land in severalty to the Federal negotiating team. Federal negotiators Whitehall and Malone brought Henry Laboucan's request for land in severalty to the negotiating table in December of 1988.
In a particularly memorable performance Whitehall advised the Lubicon negotiating team of Henry Laboucan's request for land in severalty. Whitehall said firmly that there would never be any land in severalty settlements.
First of all, Mr. Whitehall said, aboriginal land rights are not individual rights but communal rights and the Canadian Government therefore never negotiates aboriginal land rights with individuals -- only with organized aboriginal societies. Consequently, he said, the Federal Government would not meet with Henry Laboucan to discuss his land in severalty application.
Secondly, Mr. Whitehall said, if the Lubicon negotiating team brought forward any land in severalty applications the Federal Government would require that any applicants for land in severalty meet very strict genealogical and historical tests -- which Henry Laboucan could not meet -- and if there were any Lubicons interested in land in severalty who could meet such tests Whitehall said that he would personally guarantee that their applications for land in severalty would "be tied up in court forever". He repeated solemnly "There will never be any land in severalty". (Typically Mr. Whitehall did not say that the Federal Government would seek a judicial determination as to whether or not it had to honour its commitment under Treaty 8 to provide land in severalty to people who wanted it. He rather said that he would use the procedural rules of the court to subvert the rule of law. That's a classic example of what Federal Justice Department lawyer Ivan Whitehall considers to be protecting the public interest -- or at least to be protecting the interests of the Federal Government. It's also the type of thing about Whitehall that so appals true legalists like E. Davie Fulton.)
At the time Whitehall and Malone brought Henry Laboucan's request for land in severalty to the negotiating table Lubicon negotiators told Mr. Whitehall that land in severalty was not part of their mandate from the Lubicon people -- that Henry Laboucan was operating on his own. If and when the Lubicon people included land in severalty in their mandate, Lubicon negotiators told Whitehall, they'd let him know.
Federal negotiators deliberately broke down Lubicon negotiations in January of 1989 with a "take-it-or-leave-it" offer to the Lubicons known in advance to be unacceptable because it made no serious provision for the Lubicon people to ever again become economically self-sufficient. Within two weeks of the break-down of negotiations Malone working through a Regional Office Indian Affairs official named Fred Jobin arranged a meeting with Henry Laboucan in the little northern Alberta town of High Prairie.
Malone and Jobin met Henry Laboucan in High Prairie on February 10, 1989. They told him that they could not negotiate a land in severalty settlement with him -- only with an organized aboriginal society. However, they told him, if he would work with them to help organize the overthrow of the duly elected leadership and replace current Lubicon leaders with people a little more amenable to the Government they would sign a settlement agreement with these more amenable people which would provide him with land in severalty. (Although Henry Laboucan would soon become frightened of overt involvement with efforts to overthrow duly elected Lubicon leaders and would personally withdraw from that particular initiative -- he was horrified when Government spokesman identified him as the leader of a supposed "dissident group" of Lubicons -- this initial contact with him was the genesis of the infamous Woodland Cree Band. For more details on creation of the Woodland Cree Band see the attached Saturday Night article by John Goddard entitled "A Helping Hand".)
Frightened away from the Government organized effort to overthrow the duly elected Lubicon leadership by reporters who asked him about his role in it, Henry Laboucan nevertheless continued to pursue land in severalty at Grouard for himself and members of his family. To that end he hired a Government endorsed lawyer named Jerome Slavik -- one of two lawyers considered by the Federal Government to set up the Woodland Cree Band -- but neither level of Canadian Government was much interested in talking about Henry Laboucan's land in severalty application until recently.
Henry Laboucan's land in severalty application was received on March 8, 1989 -- less than a month after the February 10th meeting in High Prairie. However it was not accepted for negotiation until April 30, 1991, and not much happened with it until near the anticipated fall of the Mulroney Government when on July 6, 1993 it was slammed through by Malone, Slavik and Provincial official Ken Boutillier -- presumably in a last ditch "cost is no obstacle" effort to do as much damage to the Lubicon society as possible before the Mulroney gang was thrown out of office. (Knowing how terribly unorthodox and inappropriate a settlement it is Federal officials and Boutillier both modestly give Slavik credit for pushing through the Laboucan land in severalty settlement. But that's not credible. Such a thing could not conceivably have happened without the full and enthusiastic support of both levels of Canadian Government. Moreover Slavik doesn't push Boutillier into anything. He does what he's told by Boutillier with whom Slavik has enjoyed a long-term and mutually advantageous relationship.)
Unlike any land in severalty settlement in the history of the country -- and contravening all applicable Federal Government policy -- the Henry Laboucan land in severalty settlement is part of a master settlement with the Lubicon people which has yet to be achieved. One Departmental official nervously explained that "The rest of the Lubicon settlement will catch up when a master Lubicon settlement is signed". (Needless to say this approach stands the historic process on end. Always before land in severalty settlements have been part of a master settlement with an organized aboriginal society -- not the other way around. In addition there's the legal problem of the nature of aboriginal rights as communal rights instead of individual rights -- although the Lubicons have long since learned that people with no integrity or respect for the rule of law are always capable of finding some creative way to do whatever the hell they please.)
Moreover the Henry Laboucan land in severalty settlement is not a land in severalty settlement in traditional Treaty 8 terms at all. Rather it's a straight cash buy out of aboriginal land rights -- more like the long since discredited metis scrip used by the Government to supposedly extinguish aboriginal land rights at the turn of the century. Traditional land in severalty settlements provide for tax-free inalienable Indian reserve land under Federal jurisdiction away from the main reserve -- so-called family reserves. Henry Laboucan was given a cash payout of $339,000 with which to both pay Slavik's undoubtedly sizable legal fees and to purchase taxable land in fee simple under Provincial Government jurisdiction -- an altogether different matter. (What's not different, of course, is the spectre of Malone and Co. wandering about northern Alberta with bags of money containing hundreds of thousands of tax payers dollars using that money not for the legitimate purpose of settling unextinguished Lubicon land rights but rather to finance their continuing efforts to tear Lubicon society asunder.)
On April 13th Jerome Morin of the Assembly of First Nations asked Mr. Irwin when Mr. Irwin would be responding to Lubicon negotiation proposals. Mr. Irwin told Jerome Morin that "there is nothing (he) can do". Mr. Irwin said that his "hands are tied". He said that "Justice has now taken over the lead role because the case is before the courts".
Mr. Irwin then had to leave so he told Jerome Morin to discuss the details with Brad Morse. Mr. Morse confirmed to Jerome Morin that "the lead role has now been taken over by Justice because the case is before the courts". Regarding why Mr. Irwin had not responded to Lubicon negotiation proposals as promised Mr.Morse told Jerome Morin that "Lubicon proposals are complicated and difficult to answer".
Jerome Morin had expected this response from Mr. Morse and was ready for it. Briefed on Mr. Irwin's March 22nd meeting with Church leaders Jerome Morin had requested and reviewed a copy of Lubicon negotiation proposals. He was therefore in a position to tell Mr. Morse that he'd read Lubicon negotiation proposals and that he didn't see anything particularly complicated about them or difficult to answer. He asked Mr. Morse what exactly Mr. Morse considered so complicated and difficult to answer.
Mr. Morse didn't respond. (As indicated earlier Lubicon negotiation proposals are attached so that people can read them and judge for themselves whether they "are complicated and difficult to answer". If Mr. Morse's problem really is that he's having a tough time with Lubicon negotiation proposals -- rather than with Whitehall and Co. -- he might benefit from people explaining Lubicon negotiation proposals to him and perhaps suggesting an appropriate response.)
On April 20th the Lubicon Settlement Commission wrote Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien asking for a meeting to discuss Commission settlement recommendations. They reminded Mr. Chretien of the letter he had written the Commission the previous June while he was still Leader of the Official Opposition. A copy of Mr. Chretien's June 30, 1993 letter to the Lubicon Settlement Commission is attached. It reads, in part:
"...with negotiations suspended since 1989 (the Liberal Party of Canada believes) that the government has reneged on its fiduciary (trust) responsibility to the Lubicon people".
"Time is wasting. As a start, (the Liberal Party of Canada) believe(s) the government should proceed with recommendation number five of the Lubicon 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 (Lubicon Settlement Commission) recommendation number eight, asserting that the extinguishment of Aboriginal rights must not be a condition of settlement.
"While it is doubtful that the current (Conservative) government possesses the will to do so, you can be assured that the Liberals will continue to press the Conservatives to respond to the recommendations of the Lubicon Settlement Commission and resume negotiations.
"We (the Liberals) support the swift resolution of all claims, and consider the Lubicon claim to be a priority".
Also on April 20th Mr. Irwin wrote to an individual member of the Lubicon Settlement Commission named Menno Wiebe responding to an earlier letter from Rev. Wiebe. Mr. Irwin's April 20th letter to Rev. Wiebe seems strangely at odds with what Messrs. Irwin and Morse told Jerome Morin on April 13th about Mr. Irwin's "hands (being) tied" since "the lead role has now been taken over by Justice because the case is before the courts". Mr. Irwin wrote, in part:
"The resolution of this claim is one of my top priorities.
"I have recently received a new proposal from Chief Ominayak that follows upon our (February 18th) discussions. (The "new proposal" which Mr. Irwin indicates he "recently received" from Chief Ominayak is of course the one pertaining to re-starting negotiations which Chief Ominayak faxed to Mr. Irwin nearly two months earlier and which Mr. Irwin originally promised to answer "within a few days".)
"I expect to be in a position to get back to (Chief Ominayak) in the near future to discuss the options the government is prepared to consider to resolve this matter".
"I am confident that a solution acceptable to the Lubicon Lake First Nation and the people of Canada can be found for this claim. I believe that it is now time to conclude old business and move on to other issues of importance".
Sometime toward the end of April Messrs. Irwin and Morse realized that they'd been snookered by Whitehall into believing that "the lead role had to be taken by Justice since the case is (supposedly) before the courts". Consequently they moved to try and re-assert Mr. Irwin's rightful jurisdiction over the Lubicon file. However they were apparently still being outmanoeuvred. While Mr. Irwin made very clear that settlement of Lubicon land rights is one of his priorities as Minister of Indian Affairs -- and that he has no intention of ceding over-all responsibility for the Lubicon file -- Whitehall and Co. somehow managed to retain "responsibility for preparing the cab doc". (The cabinet document or "cab doc" provides the information upon which the Federal Cabinet would be making a decision as to how to proceed with negotiation of Lubicon land rights. If that "cab doc" prepared by Whitehall and Malone contained the same type of deliberately misleading information and analysis about Lubicon demands that Mr. Irwin's senior officials had presented to him during their "show-down meeting" in early April -- as would almost certainly be the case -- the resulting Cabinet decision would of course be foreordained and Mr. Irwin's latitude for negotiating a settlement with the Lubicons would be sharply circumscribed.)
The struggle for control over the Lubicon file continued into the first week of May when it was reliably reported that an accommodation had been reached which provided for the Lubicon "cab doc" to be jointly drafted by the Department of Indian Affairs and the Justice Department -- whatever that means. If the Department of Indian Affairs is represented by Associate Deputy Minister Rick Van Loon, for example, the result would not likely be much different than if the "cab doc" is drafted only by Whitehall and Malone. (In any case "co-drafting the cab doc" with people like Whitehall is pretty dicey business. One cannot help but be reminded of the Meech Lake Constitutional talks during which negotiated clauses which didn't serve the purpose of the Mulroney gang were simply left out of resulting documents.)
On May 13, 14 and 15 the Liberal Party of Canada met in Convention in Ottawa and, among other things, passed a unanimous resolution calling upon the Liberal Government of Canada to settle Lubicon land rights. The Lubicons were the only Indian Band in Canada specifically mentioned in the dozens of resolutions passed at the Convention. The Lubicon resolution reads:
"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 Resolutions on Treaties and Claims and the 1993 Aboriginal Platform (on which the Liberals campaigned successfully during the last Federal election)."
On May 16th Mr. Irwin wrote Chief Ominayak finally acknowledging receipt of Chief Ominayak's March 1st negotiation proposals. Mr. Irwin wrote:
"The material you provided to me, both at the meeting and in your letter, will be of assistance when my colleague, (Justice Minister) the Honourable Allan Rock, and I discuss in the near future with the Cabinet possible options on how to proceed. Like you, I hope that this matter can be finalized in a relatively short period of time given that most of the technical work with respect to your claim has been completed."
Mr. Irwin's May 16th letter from received on May 19th. Chief Ominayak responded to it in a letter dated May 21st. The Chief wrote that he hoped "the next stage of the process you describe in your May 16th letter will take a little less time than it took for you to acknowledge receipt of our written proposals for re-starting negotiations". He indicated concern over the manoeuvring known to be going on in the background saying that the Lubicon people "see no reason why you should cede your rightful authority as Minister of Indian Affairs essentially to this same bunch only re-positioned from their previous base in the Department of Indian Affairs to a new base at Justice (where Whitehall and Co. will undoubtedly seek to deceive and manipulate Mr. Rock as they have sought to deceive and manipulate successive Indian Affairs Ministers going back to at least John Munro)." Lastly Chief Ominayak expressed concern over the content of a "cab doc" drafted by Whitehall and Malone especially in light of the "demonstrably incorrect information about recent settlements which (their colleagues) Goodleaf, Van Loon and Westland provided to (Mr. Irwin) during (Mr. Irwin's) meeting with them in early April".
Mr. Irwin's office acknowledged receipt of Chief Ominayak's May 21st letter on June 2nd.
Also on June 2nd Co-Chair of the Lubicon Settlement Commission Jacques Johnson received information that "the Lubicon cab doc won't be ready for over a month, won't be ready for discussion by Cabinet this session (of Parliament) and won't be ready for discussion by Cabinet until the fall session". This information was provided by Alyn Morris in Anne McLellan's office.
Anne McLellan is the Federal Minister of Natural Resources. She is also Father Johnson's Member of Parliament. Father Johnson and the members of the Lubicon Settlement Commission had been seeking a meeting with Anne McLellan on an urgent basis because they too are concerned about the content of a "cab doc" drafted by Whitehall and Co. and wanted to provide Minister McLellan with credible information on the Lubicon situation independent of the type of information likely contained in the worrisome "cab doc". Essentially the message that came back to Father Johnson from Anne McLellan's office is that there's no need for an early meeting -- that the Lubicon "cab doc" won't be ready for over a month and Cabinet won't be considering it until the fall.
Needless to say a "cab doc" could technically be ready tomorrow -- presuming agreement on its content. That the Lubicon "cab doc" won't be ready until too late to be considered by Cabinet during the current session of Parliament suggests that there isn't agreement on content -- that the internal struggle continues basically unresolved -- presumably between a hopefully sincere Ron Irwin and those who are historically responsible for the continuing Lubicon tragedy and who for whatever reason or reasons don't want to see a settlement.
On June 6th Mr. Irwin told an Aboriginal politician from Alberta named Sam Sinclair that he was shutting down negotiations with the new Loon River Band -- that he didn't like the way Loon negotiations are being used to try and undermine Lubicon membership. (While the people from Loon Lake have unextinguished aboriginal land rights Mr. Irwin is probably wise to proceed one step at a time -- finishing Lubicon before proceeding with Loon. The problem with proceeding simultaneously, as Mr. Irwin suggested in his remarks to Sam Sinclair, is that interests who don't want to see settlement play one aboriginal society off against the other -- deliberately confusing the key membership situation, destabilizing the community and raising questions about the mandate of community leadership.)
Over the week-end of June 11th Senior Provincial genealogist Neil Reddekopp visited the Loon Lake/Trout Lake area. Reddekopp's week-end visit to the Loon Lake/Trout Lake area was almost certainly prompted by Mr. Irwin's decision to shut down Loon River negotiations. Reddekopp's message to the Loon Lake /Trout Lake people is that the Provincial Government is prepared to negotiate a settlement of their aboriginal land rights but that "Irwin wants to give everything to the Lubicons". (Anybody who believes that Reddekopp and the people he represents are truly interested in settling aboriginal land rights just hasn't been paying attention. Reddekopp's true purpose is rather to stir the pot, fuel suspicion and tensions between aboriginal people in the area and make life as complicated as possible for an apparently sincere Mr. Irwin.)
Reddekopp reports to senior Provincial land claims official Ken Boutillier. Boutillier in turn reports directly to Provincial Native Affairs Minister Mike Cardinal. Both Boutillier and Reddekopp have been involved on the wrong side of the Lubicon struggle since at least the early 1980s right up through the recent Laboucan family initiative.
Boutillier was almost certainly the key guy in undermining Premier Getty. Reddekopp is definitely the guy who provided both levels of Canadian Government with the genealogical information which they've been using to support the Laboucan family initiative and which they previously used to create both the Woodland and the Loon River Bands.
Reddekopp was in Cadotte Lake last January encouraging members of the Laboucan family to join the Woodland Band because, supposedly, "in a couple of years there'll be no Lubicons left and people should get out while they still can". That's the polite version of what Reddekopp was telling people. One reliable source described wimpish, nerdish little Reddekopp as puffing himself up at one point and declaring "When I get through with the Lubicons there'll be no Lubicon members left".
Regarding his week-end trip to the Loon/Trout Lake area newly out-of-the-closet tough guy Reddekopp reportedly told one duly impressed citizen "Our Minister (Cardinal) is going to have to straighten out Irwin". He said "Irwin wants to roll over and give everything away to the Lubicons". He said "Irwin doesn't even want to negotiate". He said "Irwin wants to just give them what they're asking". He sneered contemptuously "What do you expect from a Liberal".
On June 14th Father Johnson received a letter from Alberta Native Affairs Minister Mike Cardinal. The letter is quite distinctive in both tone and content and it clearly harks back to the days before Premier Getty became personally involved and tried to wrest control of the handling of the Lubicon situation away from those largely responsible for it. A copy is attached.
Mr. Cardinal's June 14th letter to Father Johnson is dated June 7th. A noted copy was sent to Mr. Irwin. It is clearly another "for the record" letter. As such it will undoubtedly be received by many others in the near future as well. And it is almost certainly directly related both to the struggle for control going on in Ottawa and to Reddekopp's recent visit to the Loon Lake/Trout Lake area.
The first thing that strikes one about Cardinal's June 14th letter is that it is very carefully and well written -- probably by Boutillier. Boutillier's the smart one of the Provincial litter and this letter was written by somebody very smart (if not particularly honourable).
Secondly Mr. Cardinal's June 14th letter predictably denies that "representatives of the provincial government have been involved in some way in the decision by individual members of the Lubicon Lake Indian Band to transfer their membership to the neighbouring Woodland Cree Indian Band (underlining added)". Characterizing the Laboucan family initiative as "the decision by individual members of the Lubicon Lake Indian Band" is classic Boutillier -- using carefully chosen, deliberately misleading words to indirectly create fallacious impressions.
An unsubstantiated, flat denial of involvement is of course real easy for Mr. Cardinal to make. Canadian politicians and convicted felons both do it all the time irrespective of known facts . But "individual members of the Lubicon Lake Indian Band" clearly didn't cook-up the "little bribes" all on their own. Moreover the known participation of Boutillier and Reddekopp if not of Premier Klein and Mr. Cardinal himself remains in the end unexplained and factually uncontested in spite of Cardinal's flat assertion "that there is no basis for the allegations which are being made".
Thirdly Cardinal's June 14th letter makes transfer of the 95 square miles agreed at Grimshaw "subject to...the Lubicon Lake Indian Band deliver(ing) releases on behalf of all 477 members it claimed to represent (underlining added)". Needless to say the 95 square miles agreed at Grimshaw was deliberately not tied to a specific number of people and Boutillier knows it. Boutillier was at Grimshaw and he knows very well the terms of the Grimshaw Accord. (In discussion of the impact of creating the Woodland Band Boutillier said many times that he thought the Province would continue to honour the terms of the Grimshaw Accord just as long as Lubicon membership numbers didn't go below 400.)
The Grimshaw Accord wasn't tied to a number of people specifically because Premier Getty didn't want to publicly acknowledge that the Province had previously been wrong in its claim of a smaller number of Lubicons with unextinguished aboriginal land rights and the Lubicons were not prepared to retain less land for reserve purposes than had been retained by other Indians who signed Treaty 8 as determined by the same historic population formula. Getty therefore proposed and Chief Ominayak agreed to settle on an amount of land which both men considered "fair" -- independent of their respective positions on membership numbers. (The "releases" to which Cardinal's June 14th letter refer were only intended to assure the Province that it would receive a full and final release from all involved Lubicons specifically regarding the question of reserve land -- not to prove membership numbers.)
Fourthly Cardinal's June 14th letter refers to the Provincial Government's "commitment to preserving the spirit of the Grimshaw Accord". Watch out when politicians, bureaucrats and lawyers talk about "preserving the spirit" of an agreement -- it usually means that they intend to break that agreement. (On the other hand when aboriginal people talk about the spirit of an agreement they typically mean honouring the known intent of an agreement -- rather than seeking to avoid one's obligations under an agreement by looking for "loop holes" in the wording of an agreement and/or debating various possible meanings of that wording. Such dramatically different points of view are part of the reason that negotiation of aboriginal land rights with representatives of both levels of Canadian Government is so tough and complicated.)
Lastly Mr. Cardinal's June 14th letter fails to mention Premier Getty's various settlement commitments -- which Mr. Cardinal personally reaffirmed during a community meeting in Little Buffalo Lake last April 27th -- saying only that Mr. Cardinal would be personally "prepared to support any reasonable proposals which might ultimately result in a fair and equitable settlement". (Notably Cardinal's May 25, 1993 letter responding to Chief Ominayak's written summation of Premier Getty's settlement commitments as discussed with Cardinal during the April 27th meeting -- a letter which was again most likely drafted for Cardinal by Boutillier -- also fails to affirm those specific Getty settlement commitments indicating rather that "there is some question as to the exact nature of past discussions regarding other matters" but that Cardinal would be personally "prepared to support any reasonable proposals which might ultimately result in a fair and equitable settlement".
In sum Mr. Irwin does seem to be trying but he clearly needs all the help, support and encouragement he can get if he is to carry the day with his Cabinet colleagues over the continuing efforts of his senior officials and assorted co-conspirators to undercut and discredit him.
On the Provincial Government side the old gang seems to be once again back in control -- moving to subvert apparently good faith efforts by Mr. Irwin and likely to soon renege on Getty's settlement commitments. Where Cardinal and Premier Klein sit personally is still not known. Maybe they're directing Provincial officials to do what Provincial officials are doing or maybe they're being misinformed and manipulated by those officials as almost certainly seems to have been the case with Premier Getty. For whatever reason or reasons both Alberta Premier Klein and Provincial Native Affairs Minister Cardinal seem at the moment to be at least going along with what their officials are doing.
All of this begs the question of what people can do to encourage a fair and equitable settlement of Lubicon land rights. The best answer seems to be to lean hard on both levels of Canadian Government to basically live up to commitments already made.
Premier Getty's settlement commitments -- reaffirmed by Mike Cardinal during the April 27th community meeting in Little Buffalo -- are summarized in the attached copy of Chief Ominayak's April 27th letter to Mr. Cardinal. (Also attached is a copy of Mr. Cardinal's carefully worded May 25th letter of response -- which was received on May 31st -- and a copy of the Chief's May 31st answer to Mr. Cardinal's response. What happened to Premier Getty's settlement commitments once he turned them over to Provincial officials to work out the details is outlined in a mail-out on the break-down in negotiations with the Alberta Provincial Government dated September 19, 1990. A copy of the September 19, 1990 mail-out on the break-down in negotiations with the Alberta Provincial Government is available upon request.)
With regard to the Chretien Federal Government the best handle appears to be letters which Mr. Chretien sent to concerned people while he was still Leader of the Official Opposition -- the enclosed letters which Mr. Chretien sent to the Lubicon Settlement Commission and to the Toronto Friends of the Lubicon being good examples -- and the earlier quoted resolution on settlement of Lubicon land rights recently passed unanimously by the Liberal Party of Canada.
Attachment #1: February 28, 1994 letter to Ron Irwin from Chief
February 28, 1994
The Hon. Ron Irwin
Minister of Indian Affairs
and Northern Development
Government of Canada
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0H4
Dear Mr. Irwin:
Any impartial review of the history of Lubicon land negotiations cannot but conclude that there's no settlement of Lubicon land rights primarily because of bad faith on the part of one or both levels of Canadian Government. In most instances it's clear that one or both levels of Canadian Government had no intention of reaching a fair settlement of Lubicon land rights but only used the pretence of sincere negotiations to deflect public criticism, publicly confuse the issues and buy time while continuing to pursue various strategies intended to subvert, discredit and basically outlast the Lubicon people. Even in those few cases where there was apparent good faith on the part of some government people -- Bob Connelly working for John Munro, for example, or E. Davie Fulton working for David Crombie or Alberta Premier Don Getty -- other people in one or both levels of Government soon undercut and re-directed these apparent good faith efforts in favour of continuing the on-going campaign to destroy the Lubicon society.
That neither level of Canadian Government has in the end negotiated in good faith is not only the conclusion of the Lubicon people. Bob Connelly knows that his good faith efforts to negotiate a settlement of Lubicon land rights were undermined by Justice Department lawyer Ivan Whitehall. David Crombie knows that his good-faith efforts to negotiate a settlement of Lubicon land rights were undermined by his DM Bruce Rawson. Ex-Premier Don Getty knows that his good faith efforts to negotiate a settlement of Lubicon land rights were undermined by the Provincial negotiating team including in particular Ken Boutillier. The members of the Lubicon Settlement Commission know that neither level of Canadian Government has in the end negotiated in good faith with the Lubicon people. And people across the country and around the world know it.
As we advised you during our meeting on February 18th there is currently yet another major campaign underway intended to tear the Lubicon society to pieces. It involves senior officials from both levels of Canadian Government including senior officials in your Ministry like Fred Jobin as well as others who were originally involved in the Lubicon situation by the Federal Government like Bob Young. We have no reason to believe that you are personally involved in this current effort to tear our society apart. Nor do we have concrete information that Provincial Native Affairs Minister Mike Cardinal or Alberta Premier Ralph Klein are involved. But it is clear that senior officials reporting to both you and to Mr. Cardinal are involved as well as people who were originally involved by the Federal Government like Bob Young.
In the past these same government officials and agents have used the information which we provided as part of supposedly good faith talks to try and subvert both our land rights and our society. Ivan Whitehall, for example, secretly slipped Provincial lawyer Howard Irving a copy of a confidential genealogy study prepared jointly by the Lubicons and Federal officials contrary to an explicit agreement between Federal officials and the Lubicon people that this study was not to be shared with the Province without Lubicon concurrence. Provincial officials then used this confidential genealogy information to try and develop political arguments and rationales as to why our people supposedly no longer retain aboriginal land rights over our unceded traditional territory.
Later Federal officials and agents like Fred Jobin and Brian Malone used confidential Lubicon membership information provided as part of supposedly good faith negotiations to try and organize the political overthrow of duly elected Lubicon leadership. When the effort to organize the political overthrow of duly elected Lubicon leadership failed these Federal officials and agents used this same confidential Lubicon membership information to recruit members for a whole new Band called the Woodland Cree Band. Agents and officials of the Federal Government including Brian Malone, Bob Young and Fred Jobin then put together a settlement on behalf of this new Band supposedly extinguishing our aboriginal land rights to our unceded traditional territory.
Still later Federal and Provincial officials and agents used up-dated Lubicon membership information provided to the Provincial negotiating team as part of supposedly good faith negotiations to determine that Lubicon membership numbers were remaining basically stable in spite of continuing Government efforts to "bribe" Lubicon members into joining the Woodland Band due at least partially to new adherents meeting Lubicon membership criteria from the Loon Lake area. Shortly thereafter agents of both levels of Canadian Government including Neil Reddekopp and Ward Mallabone showed-up in the Loon Lake area and started organizing the new Loon River Band using this same up-dated Lubicon membership information. There can be no doubt about the purpose of creating these two new Bands. To quote Ward Mallabone -- one of the Calgary lawyers involved by the Federal Government to create these two new Bands -- the purpose of creating the two new Bands is to "eliminate" the Lubicon society.
Given this well documented history and the very real possibility that Federal and Provincial officials are trying to subvert both you and us as well as possibly Mr. Cardinal the Lubicon people consider it essential that the person you ask to play the lead role on the Federal side in Lubicon land negotiations:
Assuming the appointment of such a person with such a mandate we can commence bi-lateral talks about both substantial and procedural matters including membership, reserve lands, community facilities, residential housing, commercial development, agricultural development, self-government, financial compensation, binding arbitration, wildlife management in the traditional Lubicon territory, environmental protection in the traditional Lubicon territory and selective involvement of the Province and private sector in discussion of specific items.
Membership and the Grimshaw Agreement on reserve land are clearly the main targets of this latest assault on our society by senior Federal and Provincial officials. We will need to discuss resolution of these matters with Federal representatives not involved in any way in the continuing effort to deprive us of our rights and destroy our society .
With regard to the cost of community facilities and residential housing we propose that both parties be bound by the conclusions of the mutually agreed independent cost assessor up-dated by the same tables, formulas and calculations employed earlier.
With regard to commercial and agricultural development we propose the funding approach devised by RO officials Ralph Bouvette and Martyn Glassman.
With regard to self-government Fred Lennarson included a copy of Lubicon self-government proposals in the materials he delivered to Brad Morse at the Edmonton Inn the evening of February 18th.
With regard to financial compensation Fred Lennarson included a copy of my 4-27-93 letter to Mr. Cardinal recording the latest Provincial offer of $60 million over a ten year period in the materials he delivered to Brad Morse at the Edmonton Inn the evening of February 18th. We propose that the Federal Government match this Provincial offer or alternatively that we refer the question of financial compensation to the independent three person tribunal earlier proposed by Premier Getty.
With regard to binding arbitration we propose to refer those items which cannot be settled through negotiations to the independent three person tribunal proposed by Premier Getty. This tribunal would consist of one person appointed by the Lubicons, one person appointed by the Federal Government and a third person appointed by the first two. The decisions of this tribunal would be binding upon both the Government and the Lubicons and would not be appealable to the Canadian courts.
Wildlife management and environmental protection in the traditional Lubicon territory was successfully negotiated with the Provincial Government earlier but will have to be re-negotiated with the Province in light of creation of the new Woodland and Loon River Bands. Presumably the principles negotiated earlier will hold but the involved boundaries will have to re-drawn.
As a working agenda we would propose to start with page one of the Lubicon draft settlement proposals document which Fred Lennarson delivered to Brad Morse at the Edmonton Inn the evening of February 18th, to proceed through that document page by page identifying items where we agree and disagree, items where the Province or private sector might or should be involved, items which we might want to refer to binding arbitration, items which can be proceeded with immediately and items which might take longer to finalize.
It is our intention to negotiate a complete package before signing any agreement. If some items take longer to finalize it is our intention to achieve written agreement-in-principle with related work-program and time-table prior to signing any interim agreement. In any event it is our intention to achieve agreement on reserve construction complete including commercial and agricultural development prior to signing any interim agreement.
On timing we believe that it's possible, desirable and in fact essential to achieve agreement-in-principle in a matter of days and agreement-in-fact in a matter of weeks. The necessary technical work has long since been completed and repeatedly reviewed in detail by all of the involved parties. All that remains is up-dating the involved numbers, re-drawing the boundaries for the wildlife management and environmental protection agreement with the Province, preparing the time-table and work-program for any items which might require extended discussion of implementation (such as perhaps related enabling legislation) and establishment of an independent tribunal in the event that there are items which cannot be resolved through negotiations. A longer time-frame will bode ill for accomplishment of a settlement and will be acceptable only if good progress is being made and we're not experiencing slippage on things already agreed.
I would be pleased to answer any questions you might have about these proposals or to provide any further detail you might require.
Chief Bernard Ominayak
Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Attachment #2: Letters from Mike Cardinal to European Lubicon supporters
I am writing in response to your recent letter regarding the land
claim being advanced by the Lubicon Lake Indian Band in northern
At the outset, please let me assure you that it is the policy of the Alberta Government to meet its constitutional obligations through the negotiation of settlements of Indian land claims which are fair and equitable to all parties involved. You should be aware that in recent years a very significant number of outstanding land claims in Alberta have been settled and that others are currently proceeding, through constructive negotiation, towards similar resolution.
In the case of the Lubicon Lake Indian Band's claim, you should also be aware that, in October 1988, the Chief of the Lubicon Band and the Premier of Alberta reached an accord with respect to the amount of land the Province of Alberta would transfer to the Canadian federal government as part of a settlement of the Lubicon claim. While the inability of the parties to reach agreement on the question of cash compensation has prevented the implementation of the October 1988 accord, I can advise you that no resources have been extracted from the lands selected by the Lubicon Lake Indian Band.
As a Treaty Indian born and raised in northern Alberta, I am particularly sensitive to the claims being advanced by Native people. I thank you for your expression of concern in this regard and assure you of our government's commitment to a fair settlement of outstanding land claims, including that of the Lubicon Lake Band.
Mike Cardinal, Minister, M.L.A., Athabasca/Wabasca
Hand-written note on bottom of letter:
Note. There are two sides to this issue, before you make any comments, I would suggest you come to Alberta and I will give you free education on that matter.
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.
Sincerely, Jean Chretien
Attachment #4: June 30, 1993, letter from Jean Chretien to the Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review
Dear Father Johnson:
Thank you for your letter and the copy of the final report of the Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review.
The Liberal Party understands your concern. We fully recognize that the Lubicon have struggled for over fifty years to secure a permanent land base and the means to preserve their way of life. And we believe -- with negotiations suspended since 1989 -- that the government has reneged on its fiduciary responsibility to the Lubicon People.
Time is wasting. 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.
Sincerely, Jean Chretien
Attachment #5: letters from TransCanada Pipelines Chairman Gerald Maier to Lubicon supporters
Further to your letter of March 25, 1994, Mr. Young, prior to joining TransCanada, acted as legal advisor to many groups of aboriginal people, including those who eventually became the Woodland Cree Indian Band.
At the time he joined TransCanada, the Woodland Cree Settlement had been negotiated but not entirely implemented. Mr. Young, in his personal capacity, agreed to assist the Band in ensuring the proper implementation of the Settlement's terms. Keeping in mind his previous involvement on behalf of the Band in the negotiations, this seemed appropriate.
Early in 1994 Mr. Young was requested to explain the terms of the Woodland Cree Settlement to individuals who had asked to join the Woodland Cree as a way of pursuing their own claim and to brief various government members and officials as to the background and status of the Woodland Cree Settlement. He explained that because he had chosen a new career with TransCanada he was not able to act in any new claim matter but agreed on a personal basis because of his knowledge, to provide the explanation and briefings requested, and did so.
You and Mr. Young have extremely different views as to the propriety of the creation of the Woodland Cree Band and the negotiation of its Treaty Settlement but from TransCanada's point of view, what is relevant is that having done what was reasonably requested of him, Mr. Young has concluded his involvement in this matter.
Attachment #6: June 07, 1994, letter from Mike Cardinal to the Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review
Dear Father Johnson:
Recently, I have received a number of letters regarding the Lubicon land claim. A common feature of all of these letters, including the one I received from you, is an allegation that representatives of the provincial government have been involved in some way in the decision by individual members of the Lubicon Lake Indian Band to transfer their membership to the neighbouring Woodland Cree Indian Band. In regard to this allegation, I assure you that I personally would not condone any such actions. But equally importantly, I would advise you that I have reviewed this matter and I am satisfied that there is no basis for the allegations which are being made.
On October 22, 1988, the then Premier of the Province of Alberta reached an accord with Chief Bernard Ominayak of the Lubicon Lake Indian Band on the basis for a settlement of the Lubicon claim to lands for an Indian Reserve. Under the terms of that accord, the Province of Alberta agreed to transfer to the Government of Canada 95 square miles (243 square kilometres) of provincial Crown land subject to certain conditions, including the requirement that the Lubicon Lake Indian Band deliver releases on behalf of all 477 members it claimed to represent. Notwithstanding questions which have arisen on a number of occasions subsequently regarding the Lubicon membership, the Government of Alberta has remained faithful to the commitment underlying the Grimshaw accord and, in fact, has taken deliberate steps to ensure that the lands will be available for transfer upon the successful negotiation of a settlement of the Lubicon land claim. In this regard, I have personally assured Chief Ominayak of our government's commitment to preserving the spirit of the Grimshaw accord.
At the present time, the federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the Honourable Ronald A. Irwin, is discussing with Chief Ominayak certain proposals which could lead to a resumption of constructive negotiations between the parties. With respect to the initiative he has taken, I have indicated to the federal minister that I would be prepared to support any reasonable proposals which might ultimately result in a fair and equitable settlement of this long outstanding claim.
I thank you for taking the time to write to me regarding this matter.
Honourable Mike Cardinal, Minister, M.L.A., Athabasca/Wabasca
Attachment #7: April 27, 1993, letter from Bernard Ominayak to Mike Cardinal
Dear Mr. Cardinal:
As per our discussion this morning the Lubicon people understand that the Province of Alberta is prepared to honour Premier Getty's earlier commitments to the Lubicon Lake Nation, and that you personally are prepared to work with the Lubicon people and your Cabinet colleagues to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution of Lubicon land rights. The Lubicon people welcome your initiative and look forward to working with you and your Cabinet colleagues to achieve a satisfactory resolution of this long- outstanding injustice.
In addition to implementing the provisions of the Grimshaw Accord with regard to establishment of a 95 square mile Lubicon reserve, Premier Getty's other offers were basically designed to bridge the gaps in Federal settlement offers. The Lubicon people continue to consider this a workable approach, assuming that the Federal Government is prepared to honour the commitment made by Mr. Siddon in Little Buffalo Lake last June 5th to use the cost estimates provided by the independent cost assessor, jointly commissioned by the Federal Government and the Lubicon Lake Nation, with regard to basic community facilities, community infrastructure and residential housing.7
Basic community facilities and infrastructure which remain outstanding, and which will have to be covered for there to be a settlement, include an old people's home, a community recreation centre, a community hall, a natural gas utility, a community satellite dish and transmitter, a community refuse incinerator, four 48 passenger school buses, a public works storage building and a combination fire hall, police station, lock-up and court house. The Province may be able to help with some of these outstanding items, as in the case of the police station, lock-up and court house -- which the Federal Government argues should be a shared Federal/Provincial responsibility anyway -- and in the case of the natural gas utility, where the Province previously had a subsidy program for rural communities -- both on and off- reserve -- which has now been "frozen".
Premier Getty's other commitments to the Lubicon people were:
- Alberta would supplement Canada's offer through existing Provincial Government programs including a commitment of $1 million for the construction of an access road to the new Lubicon reserve, and "up to $3 million for an employment and training program for Band members". (Premier Getty made clear that these dollar amounts were estimates only, and that, in the Premier's words, "construction be guaranteed as to complete projects rather than a dollar amount." The Premier also made clear that the "up to $3 million" was specifically committed to the construction of an on-reserve combined community shop/vocational training centre, indicating that the jurisdictional issue raised by the Province agreeing to build an on-reserve vocational training facility would have to be worked out at the technical level.)
- Alberta would provide $1 million a year "for a period of ten years for the purpose of socio-economic development". (Premier Getty made clear that this $10 million dollar Provincial Government contribution was intended to supplement Federal funds committed to finance detailed Lubicon commercial and agricultural development proposals.)
- The Premier indicated that he was prepared to seek Cabinet authority to commit up to a maximum of $60 million in Provincial funds for financial compensation. (There was no discussion of how or over what period of time this money would be provided but the proposal you made this morning to provide it at the rate of $6 million a year for a period of 10 years is acceptable to the Lubicon people, provided that this amount, similarly provided, is matched by the Federal Government.)
- Alberta would implement the wildlife management and environmental protection agreement negotiated between the Provincial Government and the Lubicon Lake Nation.
- Lastly, respecting releases, Premier Getty indicated that Alberta would want to be released fully of any additional obligations by both Canada and the Lubicon Lake Nation. (This position on Alberta's part will have to be worked through in light of the Lubicon position that the Lubicon people are not prepared to sign a blanket release of Constitutionally recognized and protected aboriginal rights but only releases for those things specifically ceded -- such as sub-surface rights in all of the traditional Lubicon territory except for the 79 square miles agreed at Grimshaw-- in exchange for those things specifically provided.)
Should you need anything further or have any questions you can reach me at 629-3745 or Fred Lennarson at 436-5652.
Attachment #8: May 25, 1993, letter from Mike Cardinal to Bernard Ominayak
Dear Chief Ominayak:
I would like to thank you, your Council and the elders for meeting with me on April 27, 1993, in Little Buffalo. As I indicated to you during our meeting, I am prepared to work with the Lubicon people in attempting to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement of the Lubicon land claim.
In reply to your letter of the same date, I would confirm that the Government of Alberta is prepared to honour the terms of the Accord reached at Grimshaw regarding the establishment of a 95 square mile Reserve for the use and benefit of the Lubicon people. While there is some question as to the exact nature of past discussions regarding other matters, I would assure you that I am prepared to explore any proposals which, within reasonable cost, would assist the Lubicon people in regaining self-sufficiency.
In this regard, I intend, as the next step, to meet with the Honourable Tom Siddon in order to determine whether there is any room for similar flexibility on the part of the federal government.
Yours truly, Mike Cardinal, Minister, M.L.A., Athabasca/Lac La Biche
Attachment #9: May 31, 1993, letter from Bernard Ominayak to Mike Cardinal
Dear Mr. Cardinal:
Your letter of May 25, 1993, received earlier today, is hereby acknowledged.
I note that your May 25th letter reflects neither the substantive progress which we made nor the problem-solving attitude which you displayed during our April 27th meeting. On the contrary your letter is strongly reminiscent of what happened to the substance and intent of my discussions with former Premier Getty once the bureaucrats got hold of it.
Hopefully the Klein Government's position on the issues, and attitude toward achieving a fair and just settlement of Lubicon land rights, is better represented by your comments during our April 27th meeting than it is by the cautious, non-specific, non-committal wording in your May 25th letter. Hopefully also it will be possible to start bringing the substance and intent of our discussions at the political level into closer alignment with necessary technical, legal and bureaucratic follow-up work.
Bernard Ominayak, Chief, Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Attachment #10: December 1991 Saturday Night article by John Goddard entitled A HELPING HAND