Primrose Compensation Talks on Backburner

Tuesday, April 13, 2004 at 12:56



Negotiations between the federal government and Metis representatives over the Primrose Lake Air Weapons Range appear to be at a standstill.


It was just a few months ago that the federal interlocutor for the Metis people, Denis Coderre, met with delegates from communities in northwest Saskatchewan about the issue of compensation packages for former residents of the weapons range.


In the 1950s, Ottawa ordered all the Aboriginal people living off the land to leave so the government could use it for target practice for its military aircraft.


Since that time, the federal government has awarded the Canoe Lake Cree Nation over ten million dollars in compensation for lost hunting, fishing and trapping rights.


However, despite various pledges from politicians over the years to work toward compensation for Metis, little has happened.


Jim Durocher is the co-chair of a Metis committee that was formed to address the issue.


He says he can’t understand why Ottawa would award millions to one group but nothing to another group.


Durocher says the committee had expected to hear something from Denis Coderre by now about whether or not he had talked to Finance Minister Ralph Goodale or Prime Minister Paul Martin about the issue.


The communities of Ile-a-la-Crosse, Beauval, Jans Bay and Cole Bay all have representation in the group and Durocher says there is a definite concern over Ottawa’s lack of response.


He hopes to hear something before the next federal election is called.