Metis Negotiator Uneasy About Possible Election

Tuesday, April 26, 2005 at 13:25



One of the men who helped negotiate a multi-million-dollar economic development package for four Metis communities in northwest Saskatchewan is keeping a close eye on the political unrest in Ottawa.


Alex Maurice was on hand in Regina last month when the provincial and federal governments announced a combined $19.5 million in funding over five years.


The funding is being directed to the communities of Ile-a-la-Crosse, Beauval, Jans Bay and Cole Bay because elders from those communities were forced off what’s now an air weapons range back in 1953.


Maurice says if an election is called soon and the Liberals are defeated, the funding agreement might be in jeopardy.


Maurice says that’s because specific framework agreements still have to be signed by officials from both the provincial and federal governments.


Maurice wants those agreements signed in the next three weeks, but admits there’s a lot of fine print that still has to be settled on.


Meanwhile, there seems to be confusion about who qualifies for what in the recently-announced funding package.


A public meeting was held in Beauval on Sunday to discuss how the funding will be utilized.


Maurice says many elders still believe they will receive compensation for their forced removal from the land from this funding package — but Maurice says that isn’t so.


While compensation is not allowed under the funding agreement, Maurice says there is a clause that permits a $10,000 honorarium to be paid out to elders who were displaced from the land in 1953.