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Summary of Meeting Afn-ccprwg Feb 12 13 Final

Summary of Meeting Afn-ccprwg Feb 12 13 Final

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Published by Russell Diabo
Personal notes of meeting.
Personal notes of meeting.

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Published by: Russell Diabo on Feb 28, 2013
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03/29/2013

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SUMMARY OF MEETING AFN-COMPREHENSIVE CLAIMS POLICY REFORM WORKING GROUP AFN 10th Floor Boardroom February 12, 2013

In Attendance: AFN-BC Regional Vice-Chief Jody Wilson-Raybauld (Chair) Tonio Sadik, AFN, Senior Advisor Peter Di Gangi, AFN, Consultant David Nahwegahbow, AFN, Legal Advisor Roger Jones, AFN, Legal Advisor Jennifer Brennan, AFN, Senior Advisor (Partial Attendance) Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, UBCIC Beverly Clifton-Percival, Gitxsan Angie Derrickson, AFNBC Chief Clifford Moar, Mashteuiatsh, Innu Chief Harry St. Denis, Wolf Lake First Nation, Algonquin Chief Madeleine Paul, Eagle Village First Nation, Algonquin Michel Thusky, Proxy for Chief Casey Ratt, Algonquins of Barriere Lake Claude Picard, AFNQL Russell Diabo, Policy Advisor, Algonquin Nation Secretariat By Phone: Howard Grant, Executive Director, First Nations Summit Melissa Louie, First Nations Summit Robert Morales, Chief Negotiator, Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group Krista Brookes, Senior Policy Analyst & Legal Advisor, Atlantic Policy Congress Regional Vice-Chief Wilson-Raybauld:   Welcomes everyone to the meeting. Begins by saying, Stewart and I have gone back to our Chiefs about the January 11th AFN-PM meeting outcomes.

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Re: AFN-PM January 11th Meeting Regional Vice-Chief Wilson-Raybauld:  Regarding comprehensive claims and treaty implementation we saw a commitment and opportunity to develop high level central oversight. During the January 11th 2013 meeting the PM conceded there was no follow-up to the January 2012 Crown-First Nations Gathering. Minister Duncan opened the January 11th 2013 meeting but he was soon sidelined as the Chair of the meeting by the Prime Minister The main engagement during the January 11th meeting was between the National Chief and the Prime Minister, the other 22 First Nation leaders talked about AFN’s 8 points. Re: Follow-up to the January 11th AFN-PM Meeting Regional Vice-Chief Wilson-Raybauld:  There have been two meetings with federal officials since the January 11th meeting. Perry Bellegarde has been meeting with Nigel Wright on treaty implementation, Jody says she was also invited to attend the meeting held on February 5th. There has been some delay on discussions to frame out the process. There have been meetings with Minister Duncan and his office staff. Minister Duncan said they convened a “Senior Oversight Committee” with Termsof-Reference. Minister Duncan said creation of the committee would make it easier for him. Minister Duncan said they don’t want a table where people come and say “no”, they want a table to come together and work out issues – a partnership. Federal officials have also said “let’s not let the perfect get in the way of the good”.

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The comprehensive claims process focus is on “finality”. Treaties are not being concluded. Groups are making agreements outside of the comprehensive claims agreement process. Incremental agreements may be the way to go, sectoral agreements “beyond the Indian Act”. The federal government’s main objective is economic development, accountability is the other priority. Bill C-27, the Transparency Act is before the Senate Committee now. There are two Senior Oversight Committees (SOC’s) coming out of the January 2013 meeting with the Prime Minister: one on treaty implementation and one on comprehensive claims.

Tonio Sadik:  Adds that Minister Duncan was engaged in the February 11th meeting and the National Chief was there. There was dialogue but no concrete outcomes.

Regional Vice-Chief Wilson-Raybauld:  Federal SOC people are the same for both tables (treaty implementation & comprehensive claims). Treaty SOC agreed to exchange letters between federal government and AFN (Perry Bellegarde). At the end of March Perry Bellegarde will bring this back to treaty groups. We have many shared interests with historic treaties and modern treaties. First Nations who have Aboriginal Title and Rights can come together at a national meeting. Yesterday (Feb 11) we met with SOC on comprehensive claims at the Headquarters of the federal Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). Those who were in attendance included: from AFN Jody Wilson-Raybauld, Ghislain Picard, Jennifer Brennan, Tonio Sadik, Karen Campbell, and from Canada representation from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office and Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development Canada.

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We have had discussions with Nigel Wright, PMO, Chief of Staff, and Rachel Curren, PMO, Director of Policy & Stakeholder Relations. Rachel Curran has daily dialogue with the PM when he is in Canada. Other federal representatives who were in attendance yesterday were Meredith (PMO) and two from PCO, Ravina Bains, Director of Parliamentary Affairs, AANDC Minister’s Office and Colleen Swords, Associate Deputy Minister, AANDC. We approved meeting to solidify Terms-of-Reference of the Comprehensive Claims SOC, who could be present. We want to ensure the process is not given over to AANDC, but kept at PMO level. Jean-Francois Tremblay, Assistant Deputy Minister for Treaties & Aboriginal Governance, AANDC, was elected to be the federal Co-Chair of the SOC along with Jody Wilson-Raybauld as AFN Co-Chair. What do we want? We told the federal officials we wanted AFN’s 8 points and work. We put together the RCAP recommendations and recommendations from other sources. A new policy statement of recognition to be developed as a framework for First Nations to address the land question. During the February 11th meeting with the federal SOC on comprehensive claims, Jean-Francois Tremblay mentioned the 1986 comprehensive claims policy is outdated, from negotiation mandates and court cases. We asked to get the federal government into a policy based on recognition not extinguishment. We asked for a commitment for a new policy statement. They had a lukewarm response to a new policy statement. Colleen Swords stated that Minister Duncan wanted “a couple of quick wins to show progress”. Minister Duncan wants more agreements. We asked for a complete stop of the federal “results-based” approach, and changes to what we mean by “results”. Ghislain Picard told the meeting that the current policy is not working.

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A lot of reference was made in the meeting to “certainty” in BC. The federal officials said new language on ‘certainty” is coming soon. Jean Francois Tremblay referenced the recognition language used in the draft Ktunaxa Agreement-in-Principle. We asked for a commitment in the Budget Speech. At the end of the meeting we got a commitment from Jean-Francois Tremblay to develop a Terms-of-Reference. I volunteered to look at what a new policy would be. There was a lot of discussion of “moving beyond the Indian Act”.

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Tonio Sadik  Also Canada highlighted interim measures agreements, and “shared territories” (overlaps) as issues AFN expectations were different than the federal expectations

Chief St. Denis:  Asks if a record of the February 11th SOC meeting will be produced for this AFN working group?

Tonio Sadik:  Yes.

Regional Vice-Chief Wilson-Raybauld:  Minister Duncan on Feb 11 did seem to want discretion and confidentiality with regard to the discussions

Peter Di Gangi:  Jean-Francois Tremblay is the same ADM who met with this group last year as part of the follow-up on the January 2012 CFNG. He didn’t come with anything then, no mandate. At the Feb 11 SOC meeting, did federal officials come with
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anything new beyond existing policy framework? Did they seem open to discussing real change? Regional Vice-Chief Wilson-Raybauld:  They did not bring anything new, except wanting to discuss “new techniques” for getting certainty, and new recognition wording

Tonio Sadik:  It wasn’t all negative. There is an opportunity, political advocacy from Jody, Perry, Ghislain, etc.

Beverly Clifton-Percival:  There is no in-depth discussion of alternatives to “certainty”. We are making proposals, but Canada shoots all of our suggestions down. ADM Jean-Francois Tremblay doesn’t want any changes to the BC process. The BC government is moving more than the federal government on the Technical Working Group. Canada is who is dragging things along On shared territory, there are two AIP’s infringing on our territory, this impacts on revenue sharing. Ktunaxa language is not as good as they say. Interim measures not working without Canada.

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Roger Jones:  Troubling to hear how AANDC has inserted itself into the process on treaty implementation and comprehensive claims. No changes since the Specific Claims Tribunal, Wernick is the constant here, learns lessons from previous experiences. He won’t let a Specific Claims Tribunal process happen again.

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Nigel Wright would be the first to say he knows nothing about First Nations. They have to rely on AANDC for expertise. Jean-Francois Tremblay will do what Deputy Minister Wernick tells him. We had PMO tell AANDC what to do with the Specific Claims Tribunal. As soon as draft legislation was done, PMO withdrew and AANDC came in. AANDC killed the mediation. There needs to be insistence on the PMO to lead. The Crown should engage someone who can deal with First Nations. This should be asserted from both the treaty implementation and comprehensive claims sides, outcome will be the same with AANDC. Since January 11th we’ve had access to the PCO, the Chief of Staff and policy advisor to the PMO. We were told the PM is trying to manage a country not just Aboriginal Affairs. The PM said as much, he has to run a country domestically and internationally. AANDC knows how to manage the status quo. Interesting to hear Wernick trying to understand treaty implementation and claims. Wernick said the policy objective was to settle the backlog, they did, but not specific claims. The National Chief needs to lay out what needs to happen. PMO needs to engage AANDC. We need to make PMO understand.

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David Nahwegahbow:  Roger hit the nail on the head. We’ve watched the department coopt the agenda after the Crown First Nations Gathering. There was too much patience with AANDC the last time. It enabled momentum to dissipate, will do the same again. We have to precipitate the situation this isn’t going to work.

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There should be a letter from the National Chief to the Prime Minister saying we’ve heard back from the officials meetings and it’s not going the way we hoped.

Robert Morales:  Our experience at the negotiation tables is that the federal negotiators wouldn’t go outside their mandates so we went to a common table to engage on big issues. The federal government sent Barry Dewar to the table, but on key issues like fiscal relations he said other government departments were involved, not just AANDC. We need a couple of things: 1) Need traction on process; and 2) Substantive Issues – policy statement. Good faith, what is or what is not good faith?

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip :  Since January 11th there have been two engagements with the federal officials, on February 5th and February 11th. I have a sense of uneasiness, the first meeting when Duncan was there Canada’s priority is economic development. He is looking around comprehensive claims policy to get agreements. Canada has Jean-Francois Tremblay as a Co-Chair and wants advance notice of agenda. This is a deliberate tactic to get control of the agenda. The Minister wants more agreements. The exercise is a challenge not to bog us down in process. We have to smoke this one out. Gaining control of process already not to have AANDC in control but they are there already. You have to push them in March. Jean-Francois Tremblay to develop the Termsof-Reference for the Senior Oversight Committee.

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Chief Clifford Moar:  Jean-Francois Tremblay comes from my region. I’m glad to know people talk about change. We’ve been negotiating for 30 years now, we have an AIP signed. Since the AIP was signed we’ve been told Canada made a mistake and won’t negotiate another agreement like that. I don’t believe in change under Harper, he divides.

Howard Grant:  We have a Treaty Revitalization Group, trilateral, we have made progress in some areas, like interim measures, it is more streamlined and effective. Oversight needs to be structured at the level of PMO and Cabinet Committee.

Roger Jones:  We need to help with mandate for the National Chief and the Prime Minister for a “high level” process. Refers to litany of reports on the comprehensive claims policy. The PM needs to be trusted and challenged. A common mandate between the parties is needed. We need to provide for an environment where agreements can be achieved. We need to call for AANDC to not be involved, Department of Justice, Finance. We have the same old tired bureaucrats from the status quo. What’s workable? We need a new improved comprehensive claims policy. The sooner the National Chief gets back to the PM that the process has “gone off the rails”, the better. -MEETING BREAKSThe afternoon session involved a discussion on “Plan B”, ways to pressure the federal government to come to the table with a serious change in position and attitude.
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