Pettiness of Canadian government position on Lubicon land rights

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

April 15, 2007

Last week we drew attention to a submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) from the Canadian government on the issue of Lubicon land rights. The full submission, along with a response from the Lubicon Nation, is available on the Friends of the Lubicon website.

The Canadian submission is full of misinformation, assumptions, deception and pettiness which demonstrate why good faith negotiations towards a fair settlement of Lubicon land rights have been so difficult to achieve. To give Lubicon supporters a clear sense of the pettiness of the Canadian government’s position on Lubicon land rights, we draw particular attention to the following paragraph from the Canadian government’s submission to the UNHRC:

"For a sense of the size of the land at Lubicon Lake (28,650 hectares) that is proposed for the exclusive use of the Lubicon Lake Cree (approximately 500 people), one can consider the city of Frankfurt, Germany (population of 660,000 in 2006) which covers 24,831 hectares."

The analogy is invalid, irrelevant and downright silly for a country with the second largest land area in the world and a total national population smaller than the city of Tokyo.

To paraphrase the Canadian submission: For a sense of the size of the land that Canada claims for the exclusive use of the Canadian people (997,614,000 hectares for approximately 32 million people or about 31 hectares per person), one can consider that the city of Frankfurt, Germany (population of 660,000 in 2006) that has less than half a hectare of land per person.

For a sense of Canadian demography, ninety per cent of the Canadian population lives within 160 kilometers of the U. S. border; the Lubicons live 1000 kilometers away from the U. S. border and 500 kilometers away from the nearest Canadian city of any appreciable size.

For a sense of proportion, unceded Lubicon Territory is approximately 10,000 square kilometers and the reserve "proposed for the exclusive use of the Lubicon Cree" is 247 square kilometers.

Finally it is well notable that the only people who permanently reside in Lubicon Territory, or who have ever permanently resided in Lubicon Territory, are Lubicons -- not Frankfurters or Canadians or anyone else.

In point of fact the size of national territory is not determined by the size of some urban population in another country. The suggestion that the "size of the land at Lubicon Lake that is proposed for the exclusive use of the Lubicon Lake Cree" is somehow exorbitant or generous says more about the mentality of those drafting the Canadian submission than it does about whether the relatively small amount of land the Lubicons are likely to retain for their "exclusive use" post settlement -- and which must then provide a land base for the Lubicon population forever -- is appropriate, reasonable, fair or even adequate.

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