Sudbury column: Settlement unfair and betrays Canadian taxpayers – by Peter Best (Sudbury Star – November 24, 2023)

Sudbury lawyer says it’s misleading to suggest treaty bands in northeastern Ontario only got $4 a year per member since 1875

Re: ‘First Nations in northeastern Ontario and their $10-billion dilemma,’ Nov. 20. By making this settlement, Ontario and Canada betrayed their taxpayers and their own sovereignty.

The settlement is also premature. The case is now in the hands of the Supreme Court of Canada and Canadians await its decision. I attended at the Supreme Court on Nov. 7 and 8 and listened to the arguments. Based on what I heard, it’s possible that the Supreme Court will overturn the trial judge’s money judgment, leaving only the Declaration of treaty breach.

The article is misleading in that it gives the impression that the treaty bands in northeastern Ontario only got $4 a year per member since 1875. This is false.

Canadian taxpayers provide to these treaty bands, and to Indigenous Canadians generally, free medical care, free dental care, massive grants for reserve operations and infrastructure, funding for schools, grants for post-secondary education, special business start-up loans and loan guarantees, housing assistance grants and loan guarantees, programs for indigenous youth and women, employment initiatives, funds for Indigenous land claims lawsuits, funds for the bulk of their “consult and accommodate expenses”, funds for the various associations, like the Assembly of First Nations, and more.

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