A message from Chief and Council of Listuguj
regarding the proposed Listuguj-Canada Settlement Agreement
October 27, 2014
We are at an important point in time for our community. Now is the time for Listuguj members to learn about, discuss, and decide on the proposed Listuguj-Canada Settlement Agreement.
The Ratification Vote will take place on December 13, 2014.
Chief and Council encourage all Listuguj community members to review the proposed Agreement, seek out accurate information about areas of concern, and ask questions about matters that are unclear.
To ensure that everyone has access to all the important information they need to inform their decision, we are:
• Making all key documents and several YouTube videos available on the updated web page for the Listuguj-Canada Settlement Agreement (www.listuguj.ca);
• Providing additional information on the community radio station;
• Hosting three community information meetings prior to the vote: November 18, November 25 and December 2, at 7 pm in the Bingo Hall. Please come out and participate.
We believe that a decision on this important question must truly reflect the wishes and vision of the community. We urge all community members to review the information that is being provided, and especially the proposed Settlement Agreement and Ratification Protocol. We further encourage you to ask questions about anything that is not clear.
The Chief and Council will not recommend HOW you should vote. We strongly encourage you to become informed regarding the proposed Settlement Agreement and to give careful consideration to the Ratification Vote according to your own decision.
Proposed Listuguj –Canada Settlement Agreement:
History of the Claims, the Litigation and the Negotiations
Dateline: Listuguj, Gespe’gewa’gi, 1760s to today – Successive Chiefs and Councils of Listuguj have actively pursued a just resolution of five longstanding disputes concerning breaches of Crown fiduciary duties in and around Listuguj.
The grievances are old and have been referred to for many years as “specific claims”. Generations of Listuguj leaders delivered petitions and made representations. They conducted historical research, contested surveys and deeds, disputed the authority and results of the Gaspe Land Commission in the 1820s and 1830s and travelled to Quebec City, Ottawa and even London, England to demand justice.
Five local disputes
As explained at periodic community and Council meetings, the LMG has engaged in negotiations with the Government of Canada to resolve the disputes regarding:
• the Mann-Fraser estate claim, including the “disputed acreage” ;
• the former Busteed estate claim;
• the Mission lands claim;
• the Highway 132 claim;
• the approach to the Interprovincial Bridge claim.
Not Comprehensive Negotiations on Mi’gmaq rights in Gespe’gewa’gi
It is important to be very clear on what is and what is not involved. The negotiations and the proposed Settlement Agreement in no way deal with or prejudice Mi’gmaq Aboriginal rights and title and Treaty rights in anywhere in Gespe’gewa’gi. These rights are protected under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. In a separate process, the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi is in the early stages of comprehensive claim negotiations with Canada.
To understand the context of the negotiation of the proposed Settlement Agreement, it is important to distinguish two law suits, one in the Superior Court of Quebec and one in the Federal Court of Canada:
Superior Court Busteed case. The Busteed dispute goes back to the time of Chief Joseph Claude in the 1780’s. Specific claims research was conducted in the 1980s and 1990s on all five of the land disputes, but the immediate origins of the Busteed law suit date from 1997. The late Donald Germain received a permit from Gary Metallic Sr. and the Listuguj Overseers Tribal Council, including the late Alex Brisk. Sand was extracted from lot 1 at the south-eastern corner of the former Busteed estate. The sand was used for the building of new homes for the people of Listuguj.
In 1997, the Busteeds sued in Quebec Superior Court (Busteed v. The Restigouche Indian Band and others, no. 105-05-000231-973) for trespass and damages. The band and Chief and Council, as well as the Tribal Council and its members, each counter-sued for declarations that the lands had been obtained by fraud, that the Busteeds had no good title and that these were still Listuguj Aboriginal title and Treaty lands.
In 2009, the Superior Court litigation for an injunction and damages was settled when Canada acquired most of the former Busteed lands. These lands were added to the reserve in 2012. However, the settlement of the Busteed case did not settle compensation for breach of fiduciary duty and loss of use of land.
Federal Court Case. Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation v. Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada (no. T-2478-03) was commenced in the Federal Court of Canada in 2003. The Federal Court action does not deal with Aboriginal rights and Treaty rights, including Aboriginal title and it is not for return of land. Rather, it seeks compensation from the Crown for breach of fiduciary duty, loss of use of lands over all of the years in question, related economic and social damages and the current value of the lands of all five of the “specific claims” mentioned above.
Beginning in the 1760s, the Crown asserted authority over lands and waters in Gespe’gewa’gi, but also promised that settlement of colonists would respect, protect and address the interests of the “Indians”. The Federal Court case seeks compensation for the failure to fulfil these promises and Crown acts and omissions by which the Busteed lands as well as the Mann-Fraser and additional acreage, ended up in the hands of settlers.
Most of the Mission lands were returned in the 1990s. However, the law suit seeks compensation for Crown acts and omissions that allowed the loss of the use of the lands and their conversion to commercial non-Church purposes.
The right-of-way claims (Bridge Approach and Highway 132) are for more recent events by which reserve lands were taken by Quebec for road purposes, while the Crown failed to achieve valid expropriations and provide adequate compensation.
Beginning in 2004, successive Listuguj administrations have sought a negotiated settlement through a process not confined by the federal Specific Claims Policy. We have worked together to address the historic grievances that Mi’gmaq leaders and families have kept alive and pursued for generations. The goal has always been to achieve the best settlement possible for Listuguj.
In 2008, the efforts of the LMG and of our federal counterparts resulted in the Government of Canada mandating a Chief Negotiator. In October of that year, Canada made a global offer of settlement of $21 million for all five claims, plus the purchase of the Busteed lands and their addition to the Listuguj reserve. The federal offer and its terms, including the demand for “quieting of title”, were refused.
The Listuguj team were very thorough. A huge volume of historical material was reviewed. Listuguj worked with appraisers, an economic historian and legal counsel. After careful preparation regarding the history and the proper basis for compensation, there were approximately 20 formal sessions with the negotiators for Canada up until June 2012. At that time, the negotiations on the amount of compensation were complete.
Then for over another year, ending in September 2013, detailed negotiations took place with Canada on the wording of a settlement agreement. Notably, Listuguj refused the federal demands for a quieting of titles clause and we insisted on full protection of Aboriginal rights and Treaty rights, including Aboriginal title.
This work was completed with some further changes in the fall of 2014. The result is the proposed Settlement Agreement dated for reference October 20, 2014. It will now be submitted to a ratification vote on December 13, 2014. At the end of the day, it is the whole of the voting population of Listuguj, who will decide on ratification of the proposed Settlement Agreement.
For More Information
New documents and information are available on this website, including a Plain Language Summary of the proposed Settlement Agreement, the answers to Frequently Asked Questions, an explanation of the consultative second ballot to provide direction on the handling of the settlement funds if the proposed Settlement Agreement is ratified, and some general background on Understanding Community Trusts. A community trust is often used by First Nations to handle settlement funds for the benefit of present and future members.
Can you explain what type of Settlement this is? I’ve heard it called a “specific claim”
but I’ve heard that some people say it’s a “land claim”: what does this mean?
The Listuguj-Canada Settlement is not a land claim agreement. Under Federal policy, there are two
kinds of claims in Canada: Specific Claims and Comprehensive Claims.
A Specific Claim raises a particular failure by the Crown to live up to its legal or fiduciary obligations.
Such claims are not based on Aboriginal rights or title. Examples of Specific Claims are: where a First
Nation says that Canada mismanaged Indian money; did not ensure that a fair price was paid to lease
reserve land or to buy timber; or allowed the unlawful disposition of Indian land after promising to
protect those lands. Specific Claims lead to a negotiated final settlement (or since its establishment in
2008, decision of the Specific Claims Tribunal) for compensation, not for the removal of non-Indians
occupying the lands in question. Until the Specific Claims Tribunal was set up in 2008, there were
many uncertainties in the Specific Claims process. Even with the new Tribunal, the outcomes are not
predictable. So some First Nations proceed through the courts (and out-of-court settlements) instead.
The other main type of claim under federal policy is a Comprehensive Land Claim, also sometimes
called a modern treaty. There have been more than two dozen such agreements since 1975. The most
recent federal policy approach is that such agreements are should promote reconciliation and
structure the ongoing relations of the Aboriginal and Crown parties.
It is helpful to recall a bit of the background. When the British Crown arrived in Canada and claimed
sovereignty, the Royal Proclamation and the Common Law said that the interest of the Indians in their
land is maintained as a legal burden on Canada (and later the provinces). So no one could just occupy
or purchase those lands. The Crown had to negotiate the surrender of this Indian or Aboriginal title
before making lands and resources available for the newcomers. But in much of Canada this formal
process was not followed and Aboriginal people were just pushed off their lands. So since the mid-
1970s, First Nations and also Inuit have gone through the Comprehensive Claims process.
These Claims usually deal with rights throughout the traditional territory. In Comprehensive Claim
Agreements, the parties agree on compensation and a land base, as well as on matters of lands,
resources, and harvesting in the traditional territory. In return, the Aboriginal party usually agree to
terms that provide the Crown with ’certainty’ about Aboriginal rights and title and treaty rights. Like
Treaty rights, rights under Comprehensive Claims Agreements are protected by section 35 of the Constitution. Such Agreements are mostly with First Nations (and Inuit) that were not party to any
historic treaty that dealt with land issues.
Of course, Listuguj’s relationship with the Crown is unique and is shaped by the Peace & Friendship
Treaties. We have never ceded and do not intend to give up our Aboriginal rights and title. In this
context, issues of lands, waters and resources in our wider territory of Gespe’gewa’gi are being
addressed through the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat. See the response to question #4 for more
information on Listuguj and the Comprehensive Land Claims process.
Listuguj has been protesting dealings concerning land and resources ever since the Loyalists arrived in
the 1780’s. Listuguj has long maintained that the Crown failed in its obligation to protect the Mi’gmaq
interests when it allowed Europeans to take over lands, woods and fishing places in and around
After 200 years of our elders and leaders trying to get the Crown to address our grievances, and a lot
of research on Specific Claims since the 1970s, it was the Chief and Council of Listuguj who decided to
sue in the Federal Court for compensation. Listuguj Chief and Council started the Federal Court
litigation before the Specific Claims Tribunal was established as they believed this was the best way to
protect rights and get a quicker resolution than in the backlogged Specific Claims process. Listuguj
then pushed for negotiations. Accordingly, the proposed Settlement Agreement is about a lawsuit
that seeks compensation from the Crown for ‘breach of fiduciary duty and loss of use of lands.’ The
negotiated text specifically says that it is not a land claim agreement and that it does not affect
existing Mi’gmaq Aboriginal rights and Treaty rights, including Aboriginal title. This is an out-of-court
settlement which addresses failure of Canada to protect the interests of Listuguj’s five Claims in and
What does ‘breach of fiduciary duty’ mean?
This is a standard legal term. A ‘fiduciary duty’ means that someone (in our case Canada) is
legally bound because they have undertaken to protect the interests of someone else (in our case
the interests of Listuguj Mi’gmaq regarding our lands). When they fail to protect those interests,
this is called a breach of fiduciary duty. In our case, since Canada failed in its duty to protect our
land and keep it from being sold or given away to someone else (repeatedly, over the past 200
years), Listuguj is suing Canada for compensation for breach of fiduciary duty.
If we settle this claim, does it mean we are giving up our Aboriginal rights and treaty
This proposed Settlement Agreement specifically does NOT affect Listuguj Aboriginal Rights, Treaty rights or Aboriginal title, and their exercise on and off the reserve.It would be an out-of-court settlement, compensating us for loss of use of land in the five specific claims. The effect would be full and final resolution of the 2003 Federal Court case.
Mi’gmaq rights are protected under Section 35 of the Constitution; and the Marshall decision
means we can exercise our existing treaty rights to hunting and fishing. These rights cannot be
taken away. For more information, see Article 4.12 Relations Among Interest Holders, in the
proposed Settlement Agreement.
Furthermore, Listuguj would not give up any of its rights to Aboriginal title. Aboriginal title is the
right recognized by the common law and now protected in the Constitution, of Aboriginal peoples
to our land or territory on the basis of our occupation before the arrival of the Crown. The
Treaties of Peace & Friendship did not give up our Aboriginal rights and title and neither would
this proposed Settlement Agreement.
See the response to question #4 for more information on how Listuguj, as part of the Mi’gmawei
Mawiomi, is at the early stages of negotiations under the Comprehensive Land Claim process.
I thought Listuguj is already part of a land claim to Gespe’gewa’gi. What is that
Since 2001, the Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat has been researching the Mi’gmaq Nation’s historic and contemporary use and occupancy of Gespe’gewa’gi. In 2007, the Secretariat submitted our Statement of Claim for all of Gespe’gewa’gi as part of a Comprehensive Land Claims Process. There are several stages in the process; MMS and Canada have signed a Framework Agreement and a Consultation Agreement which outlines the areas to be discussed during the negotiations and the ways in which Mi’gmaq will be consulted. This will be a long process, and this proposed Settlement Agreement between Listuguj and Canada does not affect any of the wider issues that may be discussed at that table.
The amount of the Settlement is $64.5 million. What does that cover?
If the Settlement Agreement is ratified, Canada will pay $64.5 million as compensation for the breach of fiduciary duty. The compensation was arrived at on the basis of loss of use of land over time plus interest, plus the current value of the lands without buildings, plus compensation for miscellaneous matters including the costs of negotiation.
Of course this was a two-way negotiation. In return for the Settlement Funds and the addition of the Busteed lands to the reserve, Listuguj agrees that the same specific claims will not be made again against Canada and those with existing interests in land, including in Pointe-à-la-Croix, can continue to exercise those interests.
On the other hand, the proposed Settlement Agreement would specifically preserve other Listuguj rights, claims and potential cases, including against Quebec for its occupation of Highway 132 and the Interprovincial Bridge approach. It also preserves Aboriginal rights and Treaty rights,
including Aboriginal title and says that any dispute between the exercise of the interests of Listuguj and other interest holders will be settled by future negotiations or litigation. See Article 4.12 Relations Among Interest Holders, in the proposed Settlement Agreement.
The LMG adopted Order in Council 2163—September 8, 2014 that set out that $4.5 million of that amount will be reimbursed to LMG to cover the costs of negotiations and ratification, including appraisers, lawyers, financial experts, historians, researchers, plus costs for travel,
accommodation, printing and other communications. LMG paid all of these costs up front and they must be paid back. The LMG could not budget for these costs because there is no funding for such negotiations
How will the ratification process work?
The members have already or will soon receive a package of information on the proposed
Settlement Agreement and the ratification process, which includes:
• Notice of Ratification Vote
• Instructions for Voting
• Ballot envelope with Voter Declaration Form
• Settlement Agreement Ratification ballot with Ratification Question
• Consultative Second Ballot on the handling of the settlement funds
• Proposed Settlement Agreement final text, dated for reference October 20, 2014
• Ratification Protocol, dated October 21, 2014
• Plain language summary of proposed Settlement Agreement
• Plain language summary of the Ratification process
• Explanation of the Consultative Second Ballot
Members who do not reside in Listuguj and who have provided their address, were mailed an information package along with a mail-in ballot. Members who reside in Listuguj were hand delivered a package. For on-reserve members, if you have not received a package, you can get
one at the Band office. For off-reserve members, packages were mailed out on November 3, 2014. If you do not receive a package in the mail or if you are not sure we have your contact information, please provide your current mailing address to Mike Isaac, firstname.lastname@example.org or
The ratification vote date is set for December 13, 2014, but of course there will also be advance polls and the opportunity to vote by mail-in ballot. There is a Chief Ratification Officer who will oversee the voting process. Ratification requires a special majority, so getting out to vote is essential. The proposed Settlement Agreement is ratified only if: at least 25% plus one of all eligible voters vote “YES” and the total of YES votes is more than the total of NO votes.
There will be a consultative second ballot as part of this process. On the second ballot, Listuguj members will be asked to choose one of three options for handling the Settlement Funds. There is an Explanation of Consultative Second Ballot document which is available on the web site or at the Band Office. Chief and Council want to obtain general direction from the members on how the Settlement Funds should be handled.
Why does the Settlement deal with all five claims? Why don’t we negotiate them
Listuguj had been doing research on all five of the claims dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.The Busteed case was a suit brought by a private owner in the Quebec Superior Court. The Federal Court case that it is now proposed to settle was started separately for different reasons and from the start covered five claims, including the Busteed Estate claim.
Back in 1997 when Busteed sued Listuguj in the Superior Court of Quebec for an injunction and damages for taking sand from what he saw as his property, Listuguj counter-sued that Busteed did not have proper title and Listuguj did not owe Busteed anything. In the end, this case was
settled out of court in 2009 and most of the former Busteed lands were added to the reserve in 2012.
In 2004, an important change to the Quebec Civil Code came into force. This change, as well as the slowness and uncertainties of the Specific Claims process before the creation of the Specific Claims Tribunal in 2008, made Listuguj consider bringing its own case in Federal Court for the five claims relating to areas in Quebec and that were the most well-researched. The change in the Civil Code was to reduce general limitation periods, but that could also apply to breach of fiduciary duty cases against the federal Crown. The relevant period was reduced from 30 years to 10 years. This meant that, in order to safeguard the Listuguj rights and make sure that all five claims for compensation against the Crown were not lost, Listuguj launched the Federal Court lawsuit for all five claims before the 2004 deadline.
Franklin Gertler, Listuguj’s legal counsel explains this and other legal matters regarding the proposed Settlement Agreement in a video interview which can be viewed on our web site at www.listuguj.ca
Do Chief and Council support this Agreement?
Previous Chiefs and Councils, the Listuguj Overseers Tribal Council, and other community leaders as well as the current Chief and Council, have worked hard for many years to have the wrongs of the Crown addressed in a way that meets community concerns and community needs. All this is
without negotiating our Aboriginal rights and Treaty rights, including Aboriginal title. Canada has finally come to the table after 200 years of our protests. Chief and Council see this as a good agreement and they passed an Order-in-Council agreeing that it should go to the community for a ratification vote at this time.
However, Chief and Council also believe that a decision this important must truly reflect the wishes and vision of the community. They urge all community members:
• To review the information that is being provided, and especially the proposed Settlement Agreement and the Ratification Protocol;
• To participate in community decision making by attending community meetings, talking to the Chief, listening to the community radio, getting updates posted on the web site and watching the YouTube videos;
• To seek out accurate information about areas of concern and to ask questions if anything is unclear.
Chief and Council will not recommend HOW you should vote. But they strongly encourage you to give careful consideration to the issue, and to vote according to your decision.
Chief and Council are also well aware that this negotiation has been going on for a long time and feel it’s now time to make a decision about settling these claims.
I’ve heard that the Settlement money might go into a Community Trust. What is
this? And what is a Trust Agreement?
A Community Trust would be an arms-length authority to oversee the way that Settlement Funds are invested, used and paid out in accordance with clear, previously established rules. A Community Trust is a way of protecting the funds from political influence and control, ensuring that funds are wisely invested and managed in a way that maximizes their benefit to current and future community members.
A Community Trust would be established by a legally binding Trust Agreement that could not be changed without going back to the people of Listuguj. A Trust Agreement is a legal document with strict rules that describe exactly how the Trust would work. Listuguj community members
would review and approve the structure of the Trust, the selection and responsibilities of the trustees, the investment rules that would apply and the criteria to decide what would or would not be eligible for funding.
There is a second ballot that deals with this issue. It is up to members to decide what kind of trust they want to see established. In any of the three options on the ballot, a Trust will be required. But no trust has been set up yet and none will be set up until the community is part of the decision-making and helps to design the trust, based on how people vote on the second ballot.
LMG has prepared an information sheet with additional information on First Nation Community Trusts for your consideration.
Some people may be skeptical of Trusts because of the way the Marshall funds were handled, but a Trust ensures transparency, accountability and protection from open access by Chief and Council. A Trust is the best option for protecting money for the benefit of current and future
I’ve heard there was an Order in Council (Band Council resolution) to take some of
the Settlement money to pay the Band’s debts. Is this true?
No, the Settlement money will not be used to meet any general obligations of the Band. The proposed Settlement Agreement states that a global amount of $64.5 million will be paid to Listuguj. It is compensation to settle the five claims. The compensation is a global amount, but it
was arrived at by assessing the economic value of the loss of use of the areas in question and the present value of the undeveloped land, plus interest over time and a ‘basket’ amount that includes negotiating costs. Of this amount, LMG passed an Order in Council (OIC 2163) in
September 2014 to use $4.5 million of these funds to reimburse Listuguj for all of the negotiation and ratification costs. This includes all of the costs for lawyers, financial experts, other professional experts and many other direct and indirect costs related to the negotiation and
ratification process. Listuguj has to be paid back for all of these costs. Listuguj does not have money in its budget for any of these costs.
The remaining $60 million is what Listuguj members will have decide what to do with. Chief and Council will not make any decisions on this amount without hearing directly from the people.
Why is Listuguj not getting our land back?
Listuguj is in fact, getting land back. A portion of the Mission lands were previously added to Listuguj .The Busteed lands that we negotiated for in the claims were also added in June, 2012. See schedule A of the Settlement Agreement for details.
Regarding the other claims, Listuguj will not displace anyone from current occupation of these lands. No land claim agreement in Canada has ever allowed First Nations to displace existing occupants. As an example, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation in Ontario recently
ratified a land claim agreement for $145 million regarding lands where Toronto is today. The First Nation received compensation, but they are not displacing the people of Toronto to get that land back. Some people believe the recent Tsilhqot’in or Williams decision of the Supreme Court
regarding Aboriginal title in a remote part of B.C gives private land back to the First Nation. While that was a great victory after 30 years and $25 million in costs, the Supreme Court explicitly excludes any declaration of Tsilhqot’in rights against private landowners.
Please see response to question #4 which explains more about potentially getting land issues addressed through a comprehensive claims process.
How do I know this is a good agreement?
This is one of the most progressive out of court settlements for breach of fiduciary duty and loss of use of land ever negotiated in Canada. Here are some reasons why:
This Settlement does not affect “any other claims, causes of action, actions and negotiations of the Listuguj Band or any Member whatsoever” (see details in Article 2.2 on page 8 of the proposed Settlement Agreement). Comprehensive Land Claim agreements and Specific Claim agreements include sections that require the First Nation to modify and restrictively define Aboriginal Title and rights and Treaty rights, or actually
extinguish those rights. Listuguj rights, including Aboriginal title are maintained.
Most other settlement agreements include something called ‘quieting of titles’, which means the First Nation is prevented from exercising Aboriginal rights and title and Treaty rights or making any future claims on the land in dispute. The negotiators for Listuguj were specifically instructed by the former Chief and Council to refuse a ‘quieting of titles’ clause and there is no such requirement in our proposed Settlement Agreement (see section 4.12 on page 14 of the Agreement for more details). Of course you cannot cut the trees in the yard of someone in Cross Point, but on the shore and on open lands, Listuguj rights can be exercised. We can still assert Aboriginal title throughout Gespe’gewa’gi,
including in the lands covered by the proposed Settlement Agreement. Of course this does not mean that we can be compensated a second time. Also Aboriginal title is not absolute. Comprehensive Claims negotiations do not mean that the lands specifically covered by the five claims in the Federal Court case will be transferred to Listuguj.
I thought we were offered $21 million for the Busteed lands. $64.5 million doesn’t
seem like a lot for all five claims. Can you explain?
Listuguj was never offered $21 million for the Busteed lands. When Listuguj first brought the five claims to court, our first position was a demand for $100 million for all five claims. This was an approximate number, since at that point not all the valuation and compensation research had been done. In 2008, the Federal government countered with an offer of $21 million for all five claims. Chief and Council rejected this offer in 2008. Negotiations on compensation lasted until 2012, resulting in a final settlement amount of $64.5 million, which is three times the original offer. Between June 2012 and September 2013, tough negotiations over the wording of the settlement allowed Listuguj to ensure that our rights are protected. This fall, Chief and Council directed further refinements to the text. The proposed Settlement Agreement is dated for
reference October 20, 2014 so that there is no confusion on which draft is being submitted for ratification. The proposed Settlement Agreement is more protective of Aboriginal and treaty rights, including Aboriginal title, than any we are aware of, and it may well become a new standard for First Nations.
f we accept this Settlement money, won’t Canada then try to stop making other
payments? Will Canada cut off our community programs and services?
This Settlement agreement would NOT, in any way, affect current federal programs and services. The Settlement money will not be taken from other sources of funds that Listuguj can access. See Articles 2.4, 2.5 and 3.11 of the Agreement.
Of course, the proposed Settlement Agreement does not change federal and provincial laws. So if large amounts of funds are ultimately distributed in a lump-sum to individual members there may be financial implications and care will have to be taken to protect as much as possible those receiving social assistance.
. What happens after the Ratification Vote?
What happens after the vote will depend on the outcome. There are three possibilities.
1. If at least 25% plus one of all eligible voters vote yes, and there are more “yes” votes than
“no” votes, the Agreement is ratified and will be signed, all of its clauses come into effect, the
Settlement Funds are paid by Canada and the Federal Court case is ended.
2. If there are more “yes” votes than “no” votes, but fewer than 25% plus one of the members
voted yes, then the Agreement will go to a Second Ratification Vote.
3. If there are more “no” votes than “yes” votes, the Agreement is null and void.
If the Agreement is not ratified, we don’t know exactly what will happen next. There are some options and all of them involve uncertainty, delay and increased costs. These include:
Listuguj could continue and even amend the Federal Court litigation. It is anticipated that this would take 10 years or more, and involve increased legal and other professional fees, with no certainty of results. We would be gambling that we could get a judgment for more than $64.5 million, plus all of the costs and all of the interest that the Settlement Funds would have generated over all those years. Canada would almost certainly fight very hard to say that these claims are too old to be litigated and should be thrown out. Any victory at trial would be subject to two levels of appeal, which could take a further 10 years.
Listuguj could discontinue the Federal Court case and would have the right to start up again later, but the limitations period issue would likely be a major obstacle.
If it discontinues the Federal Court Action, Listuguj could also attempt to have the claims accepted for negotiation under the Specific Claims Process. They could eventually go for adjudication by the Specific Claims Tribunal if the Minister refuses to negotiate or three years have passed since filing. Under the Specific Claims Tribunal Act, limitations arguments would not apply. But only monetary compensation is allowed (not land) and compensation would be determined on principles similar to those used to establish the compensation under the proposed Settlement Agreement negotiated for Listuguj.
Listuguj could attempt to renew negotiations. This would depend on the willingness of both parties to resume, and of course there is no guarantee that the federal compensation and concessions already negotiated by Listuguj would be on the table.
Where can I find out more about the background of this agreement and other
The Listuguj web site at www.listuguj.ca has recently been updated. New public documents have been uploaded to provide more details about the proposed Settlement Agreement and Ratification Vote, so please visit. We also urge you to attend community meetings, listen to the community radio, and watch the YouTube videos, debate the issues and talk to the Chief about anything that is unclear.
You can also contact Mike Isaac, Communications Officer for any additional information or clarification. He can be reached at: email@example.com or 418-788-2136.