Government of Canada Resolves Longstanding Claim With Madawaska Maliseet First Nation
MADAWASKA, N.B. (April 23, 2008) – The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and non-Status Indians, and Joanna Bernard, Chief of the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation, today celebrated the settlement of a specific claim regarding the Canadian Pacific Right of Way.“This shows what can be accomplished when partners work together to find a common solution,” said Minister Strahl. “It is in the best interest of all Canadians to bring closure to First Nations grievances and put the mistakes of the past behind us. That’s why our government is signing this claim to ensure the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation can move forward, towards a brighter future.”
This settlement relates to the use of three parcels of reserve land, totaling almost 13 acres, used by Canadian Pacific Railway for the construction of a section of a railway running from Woodstock to Edmundston in the late 1800s. After the abandonment of this section of land for railway purposes around 1971, the land was then used by Fraser Papers Inc. for a pipeline. The Madawaska Maliseet First Nation alleged that the Government of Canada failed to protect and preserve its interest in the reserve when Canadian Pacific Railway ceased to use the land for railway purposes.
“We can’t undo the past; however, there is finally a sense of closure in our community to the long outstanding grievance we have had with respect to the CPR right of way and the Fraser Pipeline,” stated Chief Bernard. “We have demonstrated in this negotiation process that where there is a will to find solutions, amazing and wonderful things can and do happen. The third parties, Canadian Pacific Railway and Fraser Papers Inc. showed a willingness to move forward and work with us so that everyone could benefit. Settlement of this claim puts us closer to our goal of long term economic prosperity for the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation.”
The Government of Canada will provide approximately $5.7 million in compensation to the First Nation for the loss incurred, including negotiation and ratification costs. The Government of Canada will also confirm the reserve status of the claimed lands.
“Fraser Papers Inc. appreciates the productive and cooperative discussions that occurred with the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation, the Canadian Pacific and the Federal Government during the negotiation to resolve the pipeline issue. This agreement will help us to secure the long term operation of our wastewater treatment without additional cost. This is good news in the actual difficult market we are facing”, stated Jeff Dutton, Senior Vice-President, Operations and Chief Operating Officer.
“This settlement is the product of co-operative dialogue between Canadian Pacific, the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation, Fraser Papers Inc. and the federal government,” said John Walsh, CP Vice-President – Real Estate. “CP has entered into several agreements with First Nations across Canada since 2001, and this settlement enhances the strong, positive relationship that exists between CP and First Nations across our system.”
For further information please contact:
Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Madawaska Maliseet First Nation