More letters to the new federal government

Friends of the Lubicon
PO Box 444 Stn D,
Etobicoke ON M9A 4X4
Tel: (416) 763-7500
Email: fol (at) tao (dot) ca
www.lubicon.ca

March 15, 2006

More letters are coming in every day urging the Prime Minister and the Minister of Indian Affairs to take action on the Lubicon issue. Some of these letters are attached.

If the Lubicon Nation is going to see justice done in the lifetime of this government, it’s important that we convey to the Government of Canada the urgency with which this issue needs to be addressed. These letters effectively convey that message.

It’s also important that we continue to build the campaign to achieve justice for the Lubicon Nation by involving ever-widening circles of friends, colleagues, family and neighbours. You can help build this campaign by collecting signatures on the National Lubicon Petition and returning signed petitions to the Friends of the Lubicon. Details on writing letters and on joining the petition campaign are included below.

LETTERS:

Please send direct, polite letters demanding that the Government of Canada begin negotiations with the Lubicon Nation to resolve all outstanding issues to:

Jim Prentice was the Minister of Indian Affairs when the above was written, the new minister is

The Hon. Chuck Strahl
Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs
Government of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H4
Canada
Fax: (613) 944-9376
Email: strahl.c@parl.gc.ca

Please send noted copies of your letters to:

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
Government of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H4
Canada
Fax: (613) 947-0310
e-mail: Harper.S@parl.gc.ca

Please send copies of your letters to:

Friends of the Lubicon
P.O. Box 444, Stn. D,
Etobicoke, ON
Canada, M9A 4X4
Email: fol@tao.ca

PETITIONS:

Canadian residents can also assist the Lubicon Nation further by joining the national Lubicon petition campaign. Copies of the petition and downloadable information you can hand out to friends, co-workers and others is available here.


March 11, 2006

The Hon. Jim Prentice
Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs
Government of Canada
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0H4
Canada

Dear Minister Prentice;

Our community group urges you to act swiftly accomplish what previous federal governments have all failed to do, by immediately convening good-faith negotiations with the Lubicon Nation towards a settlement of Lubicon land rights.

As you may know, failure to negotiate a fair settlement of Lubicon land rights has led to condemnation from the United Nations Human Rights Committee, Amnesty International and the World Council of Churches, amongst others. It's time to set this right.

A resolution of this long-outstanding, internationally-recognized issue is possible within a short time frame and would be a notable achievement for your government in its initial term.

We await the news of your government's convening of these good-faith negotiations; so crucial to the Lubicon people and to all Canadians who believe that those who have inhabited this land for thousands of years have a right to a fair share of its riches.

Yours sincerely,

Eileen Wttewaall

Salt Spring Islanders for Justice and Reconciliation
Salt Spring Island, BC


Dear Minister Prentice,

I am writing in the hope that you will take decisive and immediate action on a human rights issue that previous governments have failed to resolve.

Specifically, I ask that you move quickly to convene good-faith negotiations with the Lubicon Nation to achieve a rapid and final settlement of Lubicon land rights.

As previous governments have mishandled this situation, they have received condemnation from several high-profile organizations, including the United Nations Human Rights Committee, Amnesty International, and the World Council of Churches.

A resolution of this matter -- which I understand is a real possibility at the moment -- would reassure many of us about your intentions regarding Aboriginal issues and be a notable achievement for the Harper government.

Thank you for your consideration of my request.

Sincerely,

Michelle Perry, Ottawa


Arbeitsgruppe Indianer Nordamerikas
Working Circle Indians of North America - Human Rights Organisation
Weissgasse 9-13/2/1
A-1170 Vienna
Austria/Europe
Ph:     +43-1-4853351 (home)

www.arbeitskreis-indianer.at

Vienna, March 14, 2006

To the Hon. Jim Prentice
Minister for Indian Affairs
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

via E-Mail: Prentice.J@parl.gc.ca

Dear Mr. Prentice,

The Working Circle Indians of North America is a human rights organization mainly dealing with the rights of indigenous peoples, in particular indigenous peoples in North America. We have been monitoring the Canadian policy regarding native peoples over the last decades.

Recent announcements that your government is going to be taking emergency action to remedy the unacceptable water situation on Indian reserves in Canada are overdue and welcome. However information available to the European human rights organizations concerned with the situation of Canada's First peoples does not mention the Lubicon Lake Indian Nation in Northern Alberta.

The struggle of the Lubicon people to achieve a just and fair settlement of unceded Lubicon aboriginal land rights is the best known Canadian aboriginal issue in Europe. To the shame of Canada, the deplorable situation of the Lubicon Cree has been repeatedly dealt with by many international institutions and organizations including Amnesty International, the World Council of Churches and United Nations Human Rights Committee.

On behalf of The Working Circle Indians of North America I am asking you to give urgency and priority to settlement of Lubicon land rights and to send negotiators to the Lubicon negotiating table with a mandate to negotiate all outstanding Lubicon settlement issues in good faith.

Our group has been watching the ongoing process of negotiation since the mid-80ies, and is very frustrated by the unwillingness of Canadian authorities to settle the Lubicon issues in the past. We would highly appreciate if Canada could stop violating the human rights of the Lubicon Lake Indian Nation in Northern Alberta (see Findings of the UN Human Rights Commit-tee 2005). According to the Findings of the UN Human Rights Committee in 1990 negotiations are an appropriate remedy against these human rights violations.

Sincerely Yours

Associate Prof. Dr. Peter Schwarzbauer
(Chairman)


Your Honourable,

Re. : Lubicon Lake Indian Nation land rights.

Over the last quarter century, the Lubicon Cree have seen the land on which they depend transformed by logging and large-scale oil and gas extraction to which they've never consented.

The Lubicon, an Indigenous nation of approximately 500 people living in northern Alberta, have never surrendered their rights to their traditional lands. The Lubicon were simply overlooked when a treaty was negotiated with other Indigenous peoples in the region in 1899. The community lives in extreme poverty, and many Lubicon homes are over-crowded, have no running water, and lack adequate sewage disposal.

In the 1970s, the Alberta government initiated a program of massive oil and gas development on what it considered to be Crown land. The Lubicon say that their health, their way of life and their culture itself have been devastated by these developments. And the Lubicon have fought for respect of their rights in Canadian courts and before the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC).

In March 1990, the UNHRC concluded that "historical inequities" and "more recent developments" have endangered the way of life and the culture of the Lubicon Cree. The Committee ruled that "so long as they continue" these threats are a violation of the Lubicons' fundamental human rights.

At the time, the Canadian government assured the UNHRC that it was seeking a settlement that would protect the rights of the Lubicon. To date, however, no such settlement has been reached.

The plight of Indigenous Peoples has long been and remains Canada's greatest human rights tragedy. In "Stand up for Canada", the Conservative Party speaks of 'opportunity and respect for aboriginals".  Amnesty International stresses that opportunity and respect are best assured through a

- firm commitment to upholding the fundamental rights of Indigenous Peoples,

-collaborating with Indigenous Peoples to establish effective, non-adversarial approaches to the timely resolution  of disputes over lands and territories, guided by the goal of upholding the human rights of Indigenous Peoples and restoring and protecting a land base sufficient to ensure their well being and cultural survival;

-giving immediate priority to Canada's compliance with outstanding recommendations of United Nations treaty bodies in respect to the human rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada, this should include federal negotiators with a clear mandate to reach a just settlement of the land rights dispute with the Lubicon Lake Indian Nation in northern Alberta, as has been repeatedly urged by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

KWIA, supportgroup for indigenous peoples, Belgium, urges you to convene negotiations with the Lubicon Lake Indian Nation towards a settlement of their land rights, their human rights.

Yours Sincerely,

Martina Roels

For KWIA
Supportgroup for indigenous peoples, Belgium

 


The Hon. Jim Prentice
Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs
Government of Canada
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0H4
Canada

Dear Minister Prentice;

I am writing to urge you to take this opportunity to begin negotiations with the Lubicon Nation towards a settlement of Lubicon land rights.

The negotiation of a fair settlement is long overdue. Canada's reputation as a human rights defender has been tarnished with this continued inaction. The United Nations Human Rights Committee, Amnesty International and the World Council of Churches have all condemned Canada for this injustice.

Your government is taking action very swiftly on a number of other files. Please take this opportunity within your first term of office to convene good-faith negotiations with the Lubicon, who deserve a fair settlement.

Yours sincerely,

Trudy Watts

Pictou, NS
cc: Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper


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