First Nations royalty tax regime called for – by Rick Garrick (Wawatay News – July 24, 2013)

Deputy Grand Chief Les Louttit is calling for a “First Nations royalty tax regime” for all developments within Treaty 9 and 5 territories.

“We don’t want to be at the local First Nation negotiating or tribal council-level negotiating table,” Louttit said. “(Nishnawbe Aski Nation is looking for) a resource revenue and benefits sharing agreement with Ontario, which would include mining, forestry, hydro or tourism — that’s where NAN’s role is.”

Louttit said NAN is not interested in being involved with the Ring of Fire negotiations that are scheduled to involve Matawa’s chief negotiator Bob Rae and Ontario’s lead negotiator Frank Iacobucci. Iacobucci was appointed on July 2 and Rae was appointed on May 10.

“We were not involved in Musselwhite; we were not involved in the Moose Cree OPG or Detour Lake project or any of the Wabun Tribal Council projects dealing with mining and hydro,” Louttit said. “The only time NAN has recommended professional advice is back in 2000 when the Victor Mine was being negotiated. I think the NAN executive at that time provided some or recommended some legal and professional advice to the First Nations.”

Louttit said NAN does not get involved in local negotiations, such as exploration agreements, MOUs, memorandums of cooperation or impact benefits agreements (IBSa).

“Our interest is in negotiating a nation-wide resource revenue and benefits sharing agreement for NAN First Nations, based on the treaty areas, Treaty 5 and 9, where all First Nations are impacted by any development,” Louttit said. “Since the signing of the treaty, NAN First Nations as a whole have never received a penny from the natural resources extraction, (from) which the province of Ontario has benefitted.”

Louttit said the only resource benefits First Nations have received are those from developments directly impacting their communities, such as the Musselwhite, Victor, Detour Lake and Wabun area mine sites and through individual IBAs.

“Where NAN is coming from is as a political entity that has a responsibility to protect and promote the integrity of the inherent and treaty rights of not only those First Nations impacted by developments but all other First Nations who are indirectly impacted, meaning all of the 49 NAN First Nations,” Louttit said. “We have resolution mandates from NAN chiefs to set up a negotiations framework and a negotiating committee to begin the discussions and negotiations for a NAN-wide resource revenue and benefits sharing agreement with Ontario.”

Louttit said NAN First Nations should benefit the most from resource developments in their treaty areas.

“If we negotiate a resource revenue sharing and benefits agreement with Ontario for wealth extraction that is located within the NAN Treaty 5 and 9 boundaries, of course NAN First Nations have to benefit from those agreements,” Louttit said. “Only the First Nations within the Treaty 5 and 9 areas should benefit from the Ring of Fire or any other kind of development, whether it be hydro dams, whether it be forestry, whether it be tourism.”

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is looking for long-term sustainable benefits for First Nations from the Ring of Fire.

“The Ring of Fire is a wonderful opportunity for Ontario to create jobs and grow its regional economies, but it is vital that we work with First Nations communities to make sure this development brings long-term, sustainable benefits.” Wynne said. “I am very pleased that the honourable Frank Iacobucci has agreed to lead negotiations for Ontario. His expertise as a negotiator and experience with First Nations communities in northern Ontario is a tremendous asset to this important process.”