Feds Come Through On Slow Land Claims Process

Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 14:29



The federal government has announced legislation to help ease tensions and speed settlement of more than 800 native land claims.


If passed, the legislation would create an independent tribunal of six Superior Court judges to help resolve specific claims.


The government would commit $250 million a year in funding for 10 years to the process.


Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl and Phil Fontaine, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, were also signing a political agreement to deal with specific claims outside the scope of the proposed bill.


The legislation would deal with claims worth under $150 million only, while the political accord would address specific, sweeping land claims over $150 million, such as those affecting huge swaths of Ontario and British Columbia.


Resolution of claims currently averages 13 years, with Ottawa acting as both judge and defendant.