Proposed Land Claims Legislation Concerns PAGC

Tuesday, June 10, 2003 at 14:35




The Prince Albert Grand Council is voicing its concern over a new piece of federal legislation.


Bill C-6 is intended to address specific land claims issues for First Nations communities and is currently in its third reading.


However, officials with the PAGC say they can’t see how the act is an improvement over the existing one.


Under the act, Indian Affairs Minister Robert Nault would be responsible for settling land claims but wouldn’t have to do so under any set timeline. Furthermore, claims covered under Bill C-6 would be limited to seven million dollars in scope and fall under tighter criteria.


PAGC spokeswoman Colleen Youngs says fishing, hunting and trapping claims would also no longer fall under the bill. Instead, members with claims about resource management issues on traditional lands would have to go through the courts.


Youngs feels the federal plan flies in the face of a previous agreement made between government members and the Assembly of First Nations.


Last week, she travelled to Ottawa with chiefs Harry Cook and Marcel Head to discuss the topic with senators debating the issue. Youngs says some progress was made.