Spy Agency says federal Trans Mountain pipeline purchase seen as ‘Betrayal’ by many opponents

An Indigenous man raises his drum above his head as he and others are silhouetted while singing during a protest against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion in Vancouver on Tuesday May 29, 2018. (CANADIAN PRESS)

Canada’s spy agency says many members of the environmental and Indigenous communities see the federal purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline as a betrayal, and suggests that could intensify opposition to expanding the project.

A Canadian Security Intelligence Service assessment highlights a renewed sense of indignation among protesters and clearly indicates the spy service’s ongoing interest in anti-petroleum activism.

The Canadian Press used the Access to Information Act to obtain a heavily censored copy of the June CSIS brief, originally classified top secret.

Civil liberties and environmental activists questioned the rationale for CSIS’s interest, given that opposition to the pipeline project has been peaceful.

CSIS spokeswoman Tahera Mufti stressed the spy service is committed to following the governing legislation that forbids it to probe lawful protest and dissent.

“While we cannot publicly disclose our investigative interests, we can say that it is important for the service to pose important analytical questions on these types of issues, such as the question of whether developments such as the purchase of a pipeline could give rise to a national-security threat to Canada’s critical infrastructure.”

Earlier this year, Kinder Morgan dropped plans to twin an existing pipeline that carries about 300,000 barrels of bitumen daily from Alberta to British Columbia. The federal government announced in late May it would buy the pipeline and related components for $4.5 billion.

The government intends to finance and manage construction of the second pipeline — which would increase the overall flow of bitumen to 890,000 barrels a day — and ultimately try to find a buyer.

The CSIS brief characterizes resistance to the pipeline project as a “developing intelligence issue.”

“Indigenous and non-Indigenous opponents of the project continue to highlight the increasing threats to the planet as a result of climate change and the incompatibility of new pipeline and oil sands projects with Canada’s 2015 commitment under the Paris Climate Accord,” the brief says. “At the same time, many within the broader Indigenous community view the federal government’s purchase and possible financing, construction and operation of an expanded bitumen pipeline as wholly incompatible with its attempts at Crown-Indigenous reconciliation.”

The pipeline acquisition and commitment to complete the project is therefore “viewed as a betrayal” by many within both the environmental and Indigenous communities, CSIS says.

“Indigenous opposition at the grassroots level remains strong. In response to the federal purchase, numerous Indigenous and environmental organizations have restated their commitment to prevent construction.”

The brief singles out the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, noting it has signatories from over 50 North American First Nations in its bid to halt the project. It also features a May quote from Canadian environmental organization Stand.earth that the decision “will haunt the Trudeau government.”

The intelligence brief was completed a little more than two months before the Federal Court of Appeal quashed government approval of the pipeline project due to inadequate consultation with Indigenous groups and failure to properly assess the effect of increased tanker traffic in the waters off British Columbia.

In the wake of the court ruling, the federal government ordered the National Energy Board to reassess the tanker issue and asked a former Supreme Court justice to oversee fresh consultations with Indigenous communities.

The CSIS brief notes there had been “no acts of serious violence” stemming from peaceful demonstrations and blockades at Trans Mountain facilities in British Columbia that resulted in the arrest of more than 200 people, or at smaller protests across the country.

However, the document includes a section titled “Violent Confrontations and Resource Development” that mentions past conflicts over shale-gas development in New Brunswick and a high-profile pipeline in North Dakota.

It is unclear, because of the redactions to the document, exactly what CSIS was looking at, said Josh Paterson, executive director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, which has expressed strong concern about the spy service’s monitoring of activists.

In the information that has been released, there is no suggestion of a threat to national security or critical infrastructure, of clandestine activities or of violence in relation to the Trans Mountain project, Paterson said.

“While some opponents of the pipeline were arrested during protest for breaching a court order, that was a matter for police and the courts, and was done out in the open — it should not be a matter for our spy agency.”

Given past interest on the part of security and police officials, the CSIS brief is not surprising, said Tegan Hansen, a spokeswoman for Protect the Inlet, an Indigenous-led effort against the pipeline and tanker project.

But she is curious as to why the spy service document makes reference to sabotage and violent physical confrontations.

“I’m not sure why they’re trying to draw that connection with violence,” Hansen said. “I’d be interested to know. But it’s certainly not our intention to ever pursue violence.”

The Canadian Press, Nov 6. 2018


Failure to find buyer makes Federal government sole owner of Trans Mountain pipeline

Kinder Morgan sold the Trans Mountain Pipeline to the Government of Canada.

The federal government is set to become the official owner of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion after failing to quickly flip the project to another private-sector buyer.

Pipeline owner Kinder Morgan had been working with the government to identify another buyer before July 22.

But with that date set to pass without a deal, it was expected the pipeline company will now take Ottawa’s $4.5-billion offer to purchase the project to its shareholders.

The government had previously indicated that there were numerous groups interested in purchasing the controversial project, including pension funds and Indigenous groups.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s spokesman, Daniel Lauzon, said Ottawa still intends to sell the pipeline, if and when a suitable partner is identified and it’s in the best interests of Canadians.

“We have no interest in being a long-term owner of a pipeline, but we will be the temporary caretaker,” Lauzon told The Canadian Press on Sunday. “We won’t rush that.”

News of the failure to find another partner by July 22 came one day after protesters opposed to the Trans Mountain expansion took to Parliament Hill in hazardous-materials suits and carrying a fake pipeline.

It was the latest in a string of such rallies by environmental and Indigenous groups, which also included the erection of a similar cardboard pipeline outside the Canadian High Commission in London in April.

Lauzon on Sunday defended the decision to purchase the pipeline, saying the project, whose aim is to get Canadian oil to Asian markets, remains in the national interest.

The Trans Mountain expansion will build a new pipeline roughly parallel to the existing, 1,150-km line that carries refined and unrefined oil products from the Edmonton area to Burnaby, B.C.

It will nearly triple the line’s capacity to 890,000 barrels a day. Trans Mountain is the only pipeline carrying Alberta crude to the West Coast and the hope is that most of the oil will end up in tankers bound for Asia.

Ottawa approved the expansion project in November 2016 and British Columbia’s then-Liberal government followed suit two months later.

But four months after that, the provincial Liberals were replaced by the NDP under John Horgan, who has a coalition of sorts with the Green party that includes an agreement to oppose the expansion in every way possible.

The federal government has said its hand was forced by Horgan, who has gone to court for judicial approval to regulate what can flow through the pipeline — a measure of opposition that made Kinder Morgan Canada, the project’s original owner, too nervous to continue.

The company halted all non-essential spending on the pipeline expansion in April pending reassurances from Ottawa that the project would come to fruition.

The federal government had said Canada would cover any cost overruns caused by B.C.’s actions, but in the end that wasn’t enough.

Following the government’s announcement that it planned to purchase the pipeline, Kinder Morgan agreed to start construction this summer as planned.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Indigenous People Impacted By Sixties Scoop Finally Getting Day In Court

"I lost everything, including my name. I lost my family. I lost my language. I lost everything about my culture," says Marcia Brown Martel, the representative plaintiff.

“I lost everything, including my name. I lost my family. I lost my language. I lost everything about my culture,” says Marcia Brown Martel, the representative plaintiff.

Ottawa has fought unprecedented class action every step of the way

The Canadian Press, Aug 22, 2016

Thousands of Indigenous people who argue the federal government robbed them of their cultural identities finally get their day in court this week but will have to wait months for Canada to make its case in the unprecedented class action Ottawa has fought every step of the way.

The plaintiffs and supporters from all over Ontario are expected to rally at the courthouse on Tuesday as their lawyers press for summary judgment in the legal battle started in February 2009.

The lawsuit turns on a federal-provincial arrangement — called the Sixties Scoop — in which Ontario child welfare services placed as many as 16,000 Indigenous children with non-native families from December 1965 to December 1984.

Their unproven claim alleges the children suffered a devastating loss of cultural identity that Canada negligently failed to protect. The children, the suit states, suffered emotional, psychological and spiritual harm from the lost connection to their Aboriginal heritage. They want $1.3 billion in various damages — $85,000 for each affected person.

“This is the first case in the western world (about) whether a state government has an obligation to take steps to protect and preserve the cultural identity of its Indigenous people,” said Jeffery Wilson, lawyer for the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment to be heard Tuesday essentially calls on Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba to decide the case based on the evidence the court already has without the need for a full trial.

Canada has previously tried to have the case thrown out as futile. Among other things, Ottawa argues it was acting in the best interests of the children and within the social norms of the day. However, Divisional Court ruled in December 2014 that the plaintiffs deserved a chance to argue the merits of their position at trial.

“It is difficult to see a specific interest that could be of more importance to Aboriginal peoples than each person’s essential connection to their Aboriginal heritage,” the three-justice panel concluded.

In early March, the courts ruled the action should proceed over two weeks, starting Aug. 23. However, much to the chagrin of the plaintiffs, the government late last month asked for a delay, saying it needed more time to come up with experts to counter the claims. The court refused.

‘I lost my family. I lost my language. I lost everything about my culture.’– Marcia Brown Martel

But with buses ordered and courthouse rallies planned for Tuesday, the prospect of more government appeals and delays prompted the plaintiffs to agree to the one-day hearing. In exchange, the government since filed thousands of pages of materials, but has until November to file expert evidence. The hearing is slated to resume for two days on Dec. 1.

Wilson said he hoped the hiatus would allow for a negotiated settlement — a tack the Liberal government now appears to favour. Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said last week she would like to see the case discussed at the table rather than in court.

The Ontario case differs from scoop lawsuits in several other provinces in that it does not take legal issue with the placement of Indian children in non-Aboriginal homes because it was done under court orders in the best interests of the child.

In addition, Ontario was the only province to sign a formal agreement with Ottawa to take over the protection and adoption of First Nations children. The case turns on a single provision the plaintiffs say essentially required the federal government to consult Indian bands and maintain oversight of the children’s welfare.

“I lost everything, including my name. I lost my family. I lost my language. I lost everything about my culture,” Marcia Brown Martel, the representative plaintiff in the Ontario case, told The Canadian Press. “This should never have happened. It was wrong.”

Martel, a member of the Temagami First Nation near Kirkland Lake, Ont., was taken by child welfare officials and adopted by a non-native family as a child. She later discovered the Canadian government had declared her original identity dead.

Last week, five Aboriginal leaders wrote Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to urge his government to settle, and admit the “immense wrong” done the scoop children.

“This moment is an opportunity for Canada to put an ugly legacy behind us,” the letter states.


Provinces Won’t Have To Shoulder Costs Of MMIW Inquiry, Federal Minister Says

'We are reassuring provinces there will be no costs to the provinces'

‘We are reassuring provinces there will be no costs to the provinces’

Federal government ‘very close’ to launching inquiry, Carolyn Bennett says

By Katharine Starr, CBC News Posted: Jul 12, 2016

The federal government is reassuring the provinces that when it comes to a national inquiry on murdered and missing indigenous women, they won’t have to foot the bill.

“I think there was some misunderstanding, but I think we are almost there in terms of getting the assurances out there that this is going to be done in co-operation,” said Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett in an interview on CBC News Network’s Power & Politics.

The Liberal government’s spring federal budget pegged the cost of a full national public inquiry at $40 million over two years starting in 2016.

Bennett told First Nations chiefs at their 37th annual general assembly Tuesday that the government is “very close” to announcing the launch of the inquiry, a campaign promise made by the Liberals last year.

But before a national inquiry can begin, all provinces and territories must be on board.

Some provincial and territorial governments have had questions and concerns about their roles and responsibilities in the inquiry, including who was going to cover the cost of travel and other support for families and whether legal representation would be required.

Confusion over terms of reference

Bennett confirmed that “different provinces had different understandings” of what the terms of reference will be.

“I think we are reassuring provinces that there will be no costs to the provinces,” Bennett told Power & Politics host Rosemary Barton.

AFN Chief Perry Bellegarde

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde signs an accord with Carolyn Bennett, minister of Indigenous affairs and northern development, during the AFN general assembly on Tuesday. (Chris Glover/CBC)

“It really is just co-operation around documents, around witnesses. It’s just about us now getting that all pinned down so that we can launch in a timely fashion.”

The provinces and territories will still have a critical role to play in the inquiry, Bennett added.

“We’ll still need the provinces to help with the healing and wellness piece, and to make sure these families are dealt with in a compassionate, culturally safe way,” she said.

“But that’s a shared responsibility, and we are very, very heartened by the co-operation that’s out there now.”


First Nations Chiefs Sign Agreement With RCMP To Address Racism Within Force

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, left, signs a memorandum of understanding with RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, during the AFN annual general assembly in Niagara Falls, Ont., on July 12, 2016. (Chris Glover/CBC)

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, left, signs a memorandum of understanding with RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, during the AFN annual general assembly in Niagara Falls, Ont., on July 12, 2016. (Chris Glover/CBC)

Annual gathering of Indigenous chiefs goes today through Thursday in Niagara Falls, Ont.

By Susana Mas, CBC News Posted: Jul 12, 2016

The Assembly of First Nations signed an agreement with the RCMP on Tuesday to address racism and discrimination within the force as the two sides look for new ways to improve relations ahead of the federal government’s inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.

The memorandum of understanding comes just over six months after RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson openly admitted during the Special Chiefs in Assembly last December there are “racists” inside his police force.

“We invited the commissioner back again … to be part of this MOU… about how can we work together to deal with issues, deal with all those misconceptions that are within the police,” said National Chief Perry Bellegarde as the AFN kicked off its three-day annual general meeting in Niagara Falls, Ont.

“How can we work together to make sure that that air is cleared, that cloud is gone, that there is a bright sunny way within that RCMP?,” Bellegarde said.

While the government is not expected to launch an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women during the assembly, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett told First Nations chiefs it is “very close” to making that announcement.

Bellegarde said an inquiry will force police to answer some difficult questions about the force’s own shortcomings.

“When the inquiry is announced, be prepared, because you will come under question and focus about why did you not put more resources into these things upon investigation… why was there not more respect for the families, why was there not more communication? All these things are going to come out.”

“There is still a lot of hurt, still a lot of pain with the families that are still looking for closure,” Bellegarde said.

The national chief said the launch of a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women could come later this month, or next month.

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde signs a memorandum of understanding with Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett during the AFN annual general assembly in Niagara Falls, Ont., on July 12, 2016. (Chris Glover/CBC)

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde signs a memorandum of understanding with Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett during the AFN annual general assembly in Niagara Falls, Ont., on July 12, 2016. (Chris Glover/CBC)

In his opening remarks, Bellegarde said Indigenous communities are “gaining momentum” — the theme of this year’s general assembly.

“It doesn’t mean all of our issues have been solved. But what it does mean is that, for the first time in a very long time, there is reason to believe that we are on the cusp of great change,” Bellegarde said.

“But it will take all of us, working together, to make it real for everyone.”

Bellegarde said the AFN also signed a memorandum of understanding with the federal government “to create a new fiscal relationship, one based on real needs.”

The AFN signed the MOU with Bennett to form a working group to advise the government on how it should move forward with funding for Indigenous communities.

The agreement follows the Trudeau government’s pledge to forge a new fiscal relationship with First Nations.

First Nations to benefit from Hydro One shares

The general assembly began with Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day announcing that First Nations communities in Ontario will benefit from the sale of Hydro One shares.

“As of 9 a.m. this morning, the province of Ontario has entered into an agreement in principle will all 133 First Nations communities to sell 15 million shares of Hydro One for our collective benefit,” Day said in his opening remarks.

Some eight months ago, Ontario began the biggest sell-off of a Canadian crown corporation in 20 years.

Chiefs will also hash out strategies for moving beyond the Indian Act, the primary legislation used by the federal government to administer everything from laws to membership and elections in First Nation communities.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is also scheduled to attend the assembly.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with chiefs at a 2015 AFN gathering, his office told CBC he will not be attending the general assembly in Niagara Falls this week.



Provinces Studying Terms Of Reference For Inquiry On Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women


Dresses overlook the makeshift memorial for slain teen Tina Fontaine. Sean Leslie/Global News

Federal government and provinces engaged in back-and-forth about role provincial governments will play in national inquiry

By Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press, Updated: Jun 29, 2016

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the one who promised a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, but the provinces still need to sign off on the details.

The recommendations that came out of the Liberal government’s consultations earlier this year were clear: the upcoming national inquiry should have the authority to make recommendations within provincial and territorial jurisdictions as part of a larger attempt to tackle what the inquiry will determine are the root causes of the issue.

That authority does not come automatically, however, which is why officials at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada are having some back-and-forth discussions with the provinces and territories over the terms of reference, which sources said the federal government proposed in early June.

The feds gave provincial governments only a few weeks to discuss and approve their own orders-in-council — potentially turning over the provincial books on everything from policing to child welfare services — in time to launch the second phase of the inquiry by the end of this month as originally planned.

Provinces have concerns

Some provincial and territorial governments had questions and concerns about their roles and responsibilities in the national inquiry, including who was going to cover the cost of travel and other support for families and whether legal representation would be required.

Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley said the proposed terms of reference “were fairly vague”, leaving the province with unanswered questions about an inquiry her government is otherwise eager to support.

“We think it’s really important, but we do think it’s important to know precisely what it is we are going to be doing,” Ganley said in an interview.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett was not available for an interview and her office did not comment in time for publication.

Manitoba Justice Minister Heather Stefanson says her province supports the inquiry, but worries they will go over topics already covered under provincial inquiries. (CBC News)

Manitoba Justice Minister Heather Stefanson says her province supports the inquiry, but worries they will go over topics already covered under provincial inquiries. (CBC News)

Manitoba Justice Minister Heather Stefanson said her province supports a national inquiry, but is still in talks with the federal government over the terms of reference.

Stefanson said it is too early to go into details, but suggested Manitoba might have some reservations about how much a national inquiry would delve into its child welfare system, particularly if it treads ground already covered by the provincial auditor general and the inquiry into the 2005 murder of five-year-old Phoenix Sinclair.

“We just want to make sure there is not overlap and duplication as far as Manitoba is concerned,” she said in an interview.

If Ottawa does push for those areas to be examined, Stefanson said they should be prepared to pick up the tab.

“It’s a national inquiry and if they want to look at the costs associated with that, then that’s up to them,” she said.

Others told The Canadian Press they want recognition of special circumstances.

Quebec, for example, said it wants the inquiry to take into account what has happened since Radio-Canada reported allegations of sexual abuse by members of the Surete de Quebec police force against Indigenous women in Val d’Or, as well as the linguistic reality of French-speaking Indigenous communities in the province.

Nunavut wants the inquiry to include a specific focus on Inuit women, as well as the fact that the majority of its cases involve domestic violence.

Provincial buy-in essential: Shelagh Day

Organizations that have long pushed for a national inquiry have stressed the importance of getting the provinces and territories on board.

Shelagh Day of the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action said getting buy-in from the provinces is essential to the success of the inquiry.

“The national inquiry can’t do the work that Indigenous women need it to do unless the provinces and territories have bought in in such a way that their policies and practices and programs and policing in provincial and territorial regions can also be scrutinized,” said Day, whose organization is part of the coalition.

“This is a fundamental issue. We have to have them in. Otherwise, we don’t have a national inquiry, we have a federal inquiry, which is very limited,” she said.

Dawn Lavell-Harvard, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, suggested the inquiry might be open to a creative compromise when it comes to areas particular provinces feel they have already adequately addressed, such as the child welfare system in Manitoba.

“If there are areas where the other inquiry looked into something and can be submitted as evidence, then there shouldn’t need to be concern about overlap,” Lavell-Harvard said.


Tribunal Rules Canada Discriminated Against First Nations Children

Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations and Family Caring Society.

Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations and Family Caring Society.

By Red Power Media, Staff

On-reserve child welfare system receives less funding than elsewhere

Canada’s federal government has discriminated against First Nations children by providing less money for social services on reserves, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled.

CTV News reports, the decision comes nearly nine years after a complaint was filed by the Assembly of First Nations and The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.

In its ruling Tuesday, the tribunal found that funding formula used by the federal First Nations Child and Family Services Program (FNCFS) and related agreements with the provinces and territories have resulted in the denial of child welfare services on reserves.

The tribunal also found cases in which there was a financial incentive for the government to remove children living on reserves from their parents’ care and place them in foster care, even though that’s not the standard of care off reserves.

The society’s executive director Cindy Blackstock said the federal government’s own documents shows the gap in funding for social services on reserves runs between 22 and 34 per cent.

She noted the gap is “particularly intense” when it comes to services meant to keep families together.

“I can’t even believe we had to take the federal government to court to get them to treat First Nations children fairly,” Blackstock told CTV News Channel shortly after the decision was released. “I’m hoping they’ll use this opportunity to end the inequality for 163,000 children, not only in children’s welfare, but in education, health and basics like water.”

Children take part in a protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 14, 2013 calling for equal education for First Nations.

Children take part in a protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 14, 2013 calling for equal education for First Nations.

According to CBC Newsthe Canadian Human Rights Commission applauded the tribunal’s ruling.

“This historic decision could have a profound impact on how the government of Canada funds other on-reserve programs and services,” wrote Marie-Claude Landry, chief commissioner of the human rights commission.

Long fight

Hearings began in 2013, and the federal government made multiple attempts to have the case thrown out.

“They fought right out of the gate,” Blackstock said.

Before final arguments were heard in October 2014, during which the tribunal heard from 25 witnesses, the federal government had racked up $5.3 million in legal fees.

“Never once were those motions brought because they felt it was in the best interests of the children,” Blackstock said. “It was always to protect the government.”

Following the ruling, UNICEF Canada’s President and CEO David Morley said the tribunal has “set an important precedent” by promoting the right for First Nations children to be free from discrimination.

“We have a long history of inequitable treatment of First Nations children that must be recognized, atoned for and addressed moving forward so they have the same rights, access to services and opportunities as every other Canadian child,” Morley said in a statement.

Canada Gov’t: Worried About Aboriginal Communities In Wake Of Shooting

A family in La Loche, Saskatchewan, pay their respects on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, to the victims of a Friday school shooting.

A family in La Loche, Saskatchewan, pay their respects on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, to the victims of a Friday school shooting.

Reuters | Jan 24, 2016

In the wake of a school shooting in a remote aboriginal town, the federal government admits that improving conditions in impoverished First Nations communities is “a huge challenge.”

OTTAWA — Canada’s government, grappling with a fatal attack in a remote aboriginal town, is very concerned about the “tragic and alarming” conditions in other indigenous communities, a top official said on Sunday.

A 17-year-old boy was due to appear in court on Monday, charged with four counts of murder after Friday’s deadly incident in La Loche, an impoverished town in the western province of Saskatchewan.

Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took power last year promising to tackle high levels of poverty, crime, bad housing and poor health among aboriginals, who make up 4 percent of the country’s population of 36 million.

House leader Dominic LeBlanc, a key Trudeau ally from the Atlantic province of New Brunswick, told reporters Ottawa would work with aboriginal leaders “to deal with some of the tragic and alarming social indicators in many of these communities.”

He added: “I have some of these communities … in New Brunswick. I worry about them a great deal, and our whole government does.”

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale arrived in La Loche on Sunday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Mr. Trudeau last month promised a new “nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples” – a term that aboriginals use to refer to themselves – and said he would increase funding for indigenous communities.

Trudeau’s chief spokeswoman said he had no plans to address the media on Sunday.

Mr. LeBlanc said improving the lot of the First Nations was “a huge challenge.”

Robert Nault, who served as aboriginal affairs minister under the Liberals from 1999 to 2003, said real change would take a long time.

“So we’re going to have to be patient and start … working on the lack of infrastructure, the lack of housing, to change our relationship as it relates to education and healthcare,” he said in an interview. “It is a slow process.”



Bundy’s Militia Isn’t Defending Liberty, They’re Occupying Sacred Native American Land



Irony lost.

The armed right-wing insurrectionists who have taken over a federal building in Oregon are claiming to protest “tyranny” by the federal government in how the Bureau of Land Management treats ranchers on federal property. This particular group of armed white men seizing land and claiming “oppression” is clearly lacking in knowledge of American history, and what actually defines “tyranny.”

As Indian Country Today Media Network previously reported, the land the occupiers are claiming as “theirs” is actually land that the federal government previously stole from the Northern Paiute tribe. The Paiutes used to own 1.5 million acres of land, but have now been relegated to a reservation amounting to just 750 acres in Burns, Oregon, where the Bundy militia is currently engaged in an armed standoff.

“President U.S. Grant established the Maiheur Indian Reservation for the Northern Paiute in 1872. It is no coincidence that the historical reservation shares a name with the Maiheur National Wildlife Refuge, site of the current armed standoff.”


The above map shows the progression of how much land Native Americans had taken from them by armed white men from the beginning of colonization to the present day.


Also See: Response to Oregon Militia Standoff Reveals Stark Double Standards

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Feds Handling Of Former Army Camp Land Is At The Core Of First Nations Dispute, Chief Says


Barbara George, 83, is wheeled into the former military base at Camp Ipperwash as members of the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation celebrate the ratification of a deal that returns expropriated land to the band in Ipperwash, Ont. on Sunday September 20, 2015. (CRAIG GLOVER, The London Free Press)

By Tyler Kula, Sarnia Observer

An internal rift within Kettle & Stony Point First Nation that resulted in confrontation during symbolic reclamation of the band’s land on Sunday has its origins in the federal government’s very seizure of that land more than 70 years ago, the community’s chief says.

“The government took our land for 70 years and made the internal fight (go) on that long,” said Chief Tom Bressette Sunday, moments after protesters, identifying as from Stoney Point First Nation, tried to deny some band members entry into former army camp lands — appropriated by Canada’s government through the War Measures Act in 1942.

Those lands are being returned through a federal deal ratified five to one by voting band members last Friday.

But some Stoney Pointers oppose the deal, saying it doesn’t return the land to its rightful heirs.

“It’s going to take years” to heal the divide, Bressette said.

The opposition is rooted in the land’s history, starting with the signing of the Huron Tract Treaty in 1827, when Chippewas in the areas of Lake Huron and the St. Clair River ceded 2.1-million acres of land to the British Crown, ostensibly to help settle the area and shore it up against potential American invasion — a fear in the wake of the War of 1812.

The Chippewas retained less than one per cent of their land, which became four area reserves — including Mouth of the River Aux Sable on Lake Huron (Stoney Point), and Kettle Point on Lake Huron, according to the 2007 Ipperwash Inquiry report.

Those two distinct reserves now make up the Chippewas of Kettle & Stony Point, forced together physically when Stoney Point land was appropriated for the Second World War effort, despite band opposition — including a vote against the move, the report says.

Ottawa, it says, paid $50,000 for the land, to turn it into the army camp; $8,400 was set aside to move 16 families living there to the Kettle Point reserve.

“Residents from Kettle Point were not anxious to have the Stoney Point people share their limited reserve property,” inquiry commissioner Sidney Linden writes in the report.

In the 1980s, as the land sat unreturned and frictions between the two first nations deepened, Stony Point residents and their descendants established what eventually became known as the Stoney Point Community Association, the report says.

The association, it says, was dedicated to making it known that Stoney Point and Kettle Point were distinct and had different interests. It also sought for recognition from the federal government that the group was “recognized as the legal heirs and negotiating body in any return of Camp Ipperwash.”

In 1993, Stoney Pointers occupied the abandoned camp, and many have remained in the derelict buildings there since.

Lindin, in the eight-year-old report, called for the disputed land to be immediately returned to the Kettle & Stony Point First Nation, along with an apology, cleanup of the land, and appropriate compensation.

Pierre George, brother of Dudley George — killed by police while occupying Ipperwash Provincial Park in 1995 — was among those protesting the deal on Sunday. He was injured during a dispute at the army camp’s entrance when his clothing caught fire.

An earlier report incorrectly said George accidentally set himself on fire.

Witnesses say a gas can kicked into a fire set up in protest at the camp’s entrance was somehow knocked back towards George, igniting his shirt — which was subsequently torn off before he was doused with water.

He was still in Sarnia hospital Monday, with burns to his hands and ears, but recovering nicely, said family members there to visit him.

Now, what happens to the former army camp land is up to the community to decide, Bressette said.

“There’s got to be a planning process,” he said.

About $70 million of the government payment is being invested by trustees, while government officials clean up the property: a process expected to take years. About $20 million is earmarked as compensation for all band members, Bressette said.

Stoney Point members have said they don’t agree some of the money should go to Kettle Point members.

-with files from Jennifer O’Brien, London Free Press