The Ottawa Algonquin First Nation has Left the Negotiation Table
April 23, 2007
Mr. Brian Crane
Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP
Barristers and Solicitors
2600 – 160 Elgin Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 1C3
Mr. Robin Aitken
Comprehensive Claims Branch
Government of Canada
Mr. Robert Potts
Blaney McMurtry Barristers & Solicitors
2 Queen Street East
Toronto, ON M5G 3G5Mr. Aitken, Mr. Crane & Mr. Potts:
The purpose of this letter is to formally notify you that the Ottawa community (Ottawa Algonquin First Nation) is leaving the negotiation table. Over the past week I have consulted with my Council as well as a significant majority of our members, and all (with the exception of one) have agreed that under the present conditions (as outlined in my letter of April 19, 2007 to Mr. Crane and Mr. Aitken) we cannot continue to be represented at the negotiation table. I would also like to confirm once again, that I have not resigned as Algonquin Negotiation Representative for the Ottawa community.
Our community recommends that the negotiation process be terminated until such time as the following issues are fully addressed:
• A forensic audit of all activities since 2001 is undertaken.
• Clarification and investigation of which Algonquin communities are authentic and which are not must be undertaken by a neutral body.
• All legitimate and authentic Algonquin communities must be represented at the negotiation table; until such time as they are recognized and are willing to do so, negotiations should be terminated.
• ANTC / ANND must be formally and finally terminated in order to remove distinctive classes from the negotiation table.
• All communities receive equal representation and equal voice at the negotiation table.
• As identification of Algonquins is incomplete, identification must continue as must communication to the public of the process and eligibility.
• A clear statement be made to all Algonquins, as well as the general public, as to general (I realize specific is not possible at this time) expectations as to the outcome of the process; most appropriately this should be jointly provided by both governments.
• Clarification on self-government and who / how it may affect the Algonquins.
• A clear recognition by all involved that our current aboriginal rights are nonnegotiable.
• A Principal Negotiator needs to be retained who is familiar with the Algonquin nation and resides within the land claim area; this individual needs to be hired collectively by all communities, and be equally accountable to all communities.
• An appropriate funding vehicle needs to be developed which does not favor the individuals directly involved; as well appropriate guidelines, i.e. tendering processes, need to be determined and adhered to, to ensure a fair process.
• All individuals at the negotiation table should be able to speak freely and to express their opinions without threats that the ‘land claim will end’.
The Ottawa community would like to clearly state that we have endeavored over the past two years to make the process a success. However, IF OUR VOICE CANNOT BE HEARD, IF WE CANNOT OPENLY DISAGREE AND BE RESPECTED, IF WE ARE JUST LEFT OUT OF DISCUSSIONS WHERE WE DISAGREE, AND IF WE ARE NOT EQUAL AT THE TABLE, WE WILL NOT PARTICIPATE.
In conclusion, I ask that you seriously consider the recommendations above. As the current situation stands, the majority of Algonquins are actually not considered nor informed. At this time, the Ottawa community is formally leaving the negotiation table pending resolution of the above issues.
Ottawa Algonquin First Nation
cc—Ottawa Algonquin First Nation
Algonquin Negotiation Representatives