OTTAWA -- The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs John Duncan must immediately confirm that the federal government has not been engaged in bad faith bargaining, says the Green Party of Canada. “Allegations of bad faith negotiating are very serious,” said Green Leader and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands Elizabeth May. “We call on John Duncan to pledge to allow land claims resolution to continue fairly.”
The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, the Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council and the Alliance of Tribal Nations have accused the federal government of taking a ‘take it or leave it’ approach to specific land claim negotiations, including imposing an arbitrary cut-off time for negotiations. More than half of all specific claims in Canada are with First Nations in British Columbia.
“The heart of land claims negotiations must be a willingness to talk for as long as it takes,” says Green Aboriginal Affairs Critic Lorraine Rekmans. “There must be trust in the process if we will achieve any resolutions. This failure to address fundamental issues fairly and with respect for good faith and human rights is a blight on all Canadians. The United Nations has already criticized Canada for its failures. We must show the world that Canada is fair and just.”
The federal government is apparently attempting to expedite settlements by imposing a three year time limit on some negotiations.
“Our First Nations are simply asking for fair, transparent and timely negotiations. I think that is more than fair,” said Rekmans.
“What we are hearing from our First Nations is that they are finding the specific claims policy to be adversarial, in appropriate, and unreasonable,” said May. “Obviously the federal government must develop a process that is collaborative and leads to positive outcomes.”
Green Party of Canada