FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett may soon be facing an investigation by Canada’s Ethics Commissioner regarding a 2018 Williams Treaties Settlement Agreement between Canada, the Province of Ontario and seven First Nations in southern Ontario.
John Hawke a community member of Chimnissing Anishinabek (Beausoleil First Nation) located 175 km north of Toronto says he’s been in contact with the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner of Canada over a concern involving the Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister as well as former Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
“They each have property within a 50,000 acre tract of land of our traditional territory where the Indigenous Title was extinguished in a 2018 Settlement Agreement. It is integral to know if they declared a conflict of interest in cabinet before their government signed off on this agreement” Explains Hawke
The Chippewa Tri Council (Beausoleil, Rama and Georgina Island First Nations) allege that a 50,000 acre tract in Simcoe County was not included in the Penetanguishene Treaty of 1798 and remained in title to the band however this tract was allegedly taken without consent by a 1811 provisional agreement. The matter was a submitted as a claim by the Chippewa Tri Council in 1986 and 1990 which Canada rejected and was recently included in with the 2018 Williams Treaties Settlement Agreement. Hawke feels this needed to be a stand alone claim.
“ Injustices in the Pre-confederation treaties such as the 1798 Penetang Purchase where these grievances have been amalgamated with the separate issue of our northern hunting grounds and harvesting rights have allowed Canada again to provide a flawed agreement with unfair compensation where Indigenous Title is never to be extinguished.” explains Hawke.
The 2018 Williams Treaties Settlement Agreement attempted to resolve injustices created by the 1923 Williams Treaties where the Crown breached it fiduciary responsibilities. The 1923 Williams Treaties unilaterally extinguished the First Nations Harvesting Rights within seven First Nation’s Traditional Territory and did not provide proper compensation and reserve lands for the surrender of their northern hunting grounds.
The Conflict of Interest Act provides in section 44 that only a Member of the Senate or House of Commons may request, in certain circumstances, that the Commissioner examines a matter. Section 45 of the Act however provides that the Commissioner may examine a matter on his own initiative if he has reason to believe that a public office holder has contravened the Act. Hawke failed to get any responses from MP’s in his attempt to raise this concern but has raised interest of the Ethics Commissioner in an email of inquiry he sent.
A Special Advisor to the Commissioner, Phillipe Joly has been corresponding with Hawke who informed Hawke that Commissioner Dion asked him to take a look at his request to see if he could have reason to believe that a contravention has occurred. Hawke has provided preliminary information for their review.
Hawke also gives warning to other Indigenous Communities such has Six Nations of the Grand River where Minister Carolyn Bennett has agreed to sit down and discuss the historical claims and land right issues of Six Nations as a result of a month long occupation of a housing development by Six Nations land defenders.
“ I caution and encourage all communities to make noise by questioning the Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister on this matter.” Explains Hawke.
Hawke also feels that the First Nations Elected Councils are also under a conflict of interest when making agreements on behalf of an Indigenous Nation, Tribe and Clans as the Elected Councils are entities under the jurisdiction of Canada’s Indian Act.
The Williams Treaties First Nations include Alderville First Nation, Chippewas of Beausoleil First Nation, Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, Chippewas of Rama First Nation, Curve Lake First Nation, Hiawatha First Nation and Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.
For more Information Contact:
Anishinabek Coalition To Invoke our Nation, Communications Dept
John Hawke @ 705 247 2120 or firstname.lastname@example.org