Dt: June 20, 2016
To: Chief and Council
Fr: Mike McDonald, DLA Piper LLP
RE: KAPYONG UPDATE
Kapyong Lands Update: June 14, 2016
This update is provided to membership on the processes ongoing concerning the Kapyong Lands.
1. Feedback from Community Meeting
There was overwhelming support from a large turnout of Peguis membership in February to discuss Kapyong. The direction given to Chief and Council on the Kapyong Lands from the people is as follows:
– acquire lands on Kapyong that are solely held by Peguis First Nation based on our TLE
– create opportunities for Peguis ownership and jurisdiction over Kapyong Lands
– ensure that Peguis’ special and unique rights under its TLE are protected and respected
– maintain a mutually respectful relationship with Canada and other Treaty One First Nations
– seek direct discussions with Canada while maintaining an offer for discussions with other First Nations.
2. Offer for Discussions with other Treaty One First Nations Refused
In February, March and April, offers were made by Canada for Treaty One First Nations to enter into “facilitated” discussions to speed process. Although Peguis agreed, unfortunately, the other Treaty One First Nations refused. This left no option but for Peguis to commence engagement with Canada directly. Canada was pleased to commence discussions with Peguis.
3. June 13, 2016 Negotiations Commenced
June 13, 2016 Peguis met directly with Canada to begin initial negotiation sessions, the session between Canada and Peguis was productive. While the negotiations are confidential, the parties at the table were quite positive about the possibilities of a resolution in the near future. Further sessions have been planned and more detail will be discussed about potential commercial terms, the complexities with numerous parties and reserve land creation, and the important work in implementing any agreement to include all affected parties in a commercially successful project.
Peguis continues to be guided by its mandate of its membership to maintain and respect its treaty and TLE interests, its political, social and economic independence, and its focus on real tangible benefits to membership, both short and long term. Given that this is really the first true bargaining session, no agreement is imminent.
Concurrent discussions took place with Canada and other Treaty One First Nations also as an initial negotiation session. Contrary to some comments, this is also a preliminary negotiation and no agreement is imminent.
It is clear that for many compelling legal and political reasons, no final agreement on the Kapyong Lands is at all possible unless Peguis is involved and has a deep and meaningful participation in the lands in direct ownership and jurisdiction for Peguis. Some public statements to the contrary are simply not true and are not based on full respect for the strong Treaty and TLE interests of the Peguis First Nation.
While the negotiations are confidential, Peguis Chief and Council will continue to provide ongoing updates to its membership who drives the direction. Where necessary and if any other Treaty One First Nations do not respect the confidentiality, Peguis Chief and Council will respond to any inaccurate statements made about Kapyong where necessary and have advised Canada that this is necessary to protect the First Nation rights and integrity.