Carcross Tagish First Nation
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NEWS: CKRW 8:00 A.M. NEWS TUESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2012
The PM is in the Yukon as part of his annual northern tour. Stephen Harper told about 300 Conservative party faithful in Carcross last night Canada’s future lies in the north. He says the great national dream of developing northern resources no longer sleeps, it’s happening now.
“Northern mineral exploration is already reaching unprecedented levels. Over the next ten years it’s quite possible that we will see more than 30 projects developed creating jobs and growth here in the north and across Canada. We see our task as a government as standing on guard for the north ensuring that northerners receive every possible benefit from northern development.” Harper touted the Conservative government’s successes over the past year and talked about looking ahead saying the economy will not fall back like other developed countries.
Now the gathering was held on the traditional territory of the Carcross Tagish FN and over 60 members held a protest across the highway from where Harper was speaking. The first nation says there’s a lack of comparable funding for programs and services under their final agreement.
Chief Danny Cresswell says his members dealing with a take it or leave it offer. (Cresswell) “... the governance part of our transfer agreement and they don’t want to recognize it for the programs and services and that’s one of the most important parts. It can get complicated but that’s as simple as it gets.”
Harper is now off to the Minto Mine where he is expected to make an announcement later this morning.
NEWS: CKRW 7:00 A.M. NEWS TUESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2012
It’s day 2 of Stephen Harper’s tour of the north. The PM will head off to the Minto Mine this morning for an announcement. He kicked off his tour with an address at an event in Carcross last night to about 300 party faithful. Harper told the group Canada’s economy won’t fall back like other developed countries. (Harper)
“We are not going to be just one of the older generations of economic powers of this world. We are determined that Canada is going be one of the world’s next generation of economic powers as well.” Harper says Canada’s future lies in the north and the great national dream of development northern resources is now a reality.
As Harper spoke the drums of over 60 members of the Carcross Tagish FN could also be heard. Members gathered across the highway to protest the PM’s visit and their final agreement with the federal government. Chief Danny Cresswell says his first nation wants comparable funding of programs and services not a take it or leave it offer.
“We’ve got an agreement that we didn’t negotiate and we were always told that we would be able to negotiate an agreement and bring up our differences, our concerns when it’s our turn and when it came our turn they said, well, everybody else agreed to this one and signed it so that’s all we can offer you as well.” Cresswell says there’s been no meetings with the minister in charge since the initial offer. He hopes to get back to the table.
NEWS: CBC 7:30 A.M. NEWS TUESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2012
More than 50 Carcross Tagish FN citizens protested outside a Conservative party fund raiser last night. The event held on Carcross Tagish traditional lands featured PM Stephen Harper as guest speaker and first nation citizens such as Beverly Sembsmoen want to make sure that Harper understands they’re not happy with him or his ministers.
“To come into our backyard when you’re refusing to meet with us. For months we’ve been denied a meeting with the minister or worse, said we’re going to have meeting, travel back to Ottawa and have it cancelled when our chief land there. You know, there’s continuation of these games and our citizenship is tired of it.” (Sembsmoen)
Carcross Tagish Chief Danny Cresswell says he did get a short meeting with the Indian Affairs minister yesterday afternoon but he says nothing was resolved on the first nation’s funding dispute with Ottawa. In a 30 minute speech inside Harper didn’t mention dispute or the protest outside. He’s expected to make an announcement later today as he travels to the Minto Mine.
NEWS: CBC 6:30 A.M. NEWS TUESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2012
PM Stephen Harper was met with a loud and colourful protest last night as he arrived at a resort near Carcross for a Conservative Party fundraiser. More than 50 Carcross Tagish First Nation citizens dressed in traditional regalia lined the highway signing and drumming.
Carcross Tagish FN citizens like Beverly Sembsmoen say a funding dispute with the federal government has left them feeling betrayed by Stephen Harper and his ministers. “We have been fighting for months and months and months and months to get our opportunity to be heard.”
Chief Danny Cresswell says he came away empty handed from a meeting with Harper’s Indian Affairs minister earlier in the day. “We need to be treated fairly. We need to be actually able to come to the table and negotiate an agreement.”
A hundred metres away inside a meeting attended by 300 party supporters the singing and drumming could still be heard in the quieter moments in Harper’s speech. He didn’t take any questions about the protest or anything else and his speech was more about Canada’s place in the world economy than first nations’ place in the Canadian economy. (Harper) “I’m determined that Canada will continue to out perform Europe, the US and Japan.”
NEWS: Canadian Press - Northern development a 'national dream' Harper says as he begins summer tour; Developing north a 'national dream': Harper
Mon Aug 20 2012
Byline: Stephanie Levitz
CARCROSS, Yn - For the first official stop of his summer Northern tour, the prime minister paid a visit to a tourist operation about 45 minutes outside Whitehorse.
In a replica of an old mining town, visitors to the North can play with sled dog puppies and pan for gold.
And while the prime minister did take a few minutes to meet the pups, it's the gold he's really after.
"The North's time has come," Stephen Harper told a crowd of about 300 Conservative supporters at a rally Monday night.
"I tell people starting to see the activity here, you ain't seen nothing yet in terms of what's coming in the next decade."
Plumping up the Canadian mining and oil and gas sectors to feed resource-hungry countries the world over has become a singular focus of the Harper government. The prime minister refashioned that priority Monday as one belonging to all Canadians.
The North's untapped wealth is "that great national dream," Harper said - but Canadians need not sleep any longer.
"It is not down the road. It is happening now," he said.
The prime minister's office said there are currently eleven resource projects under environmental assessment, representing $8 billion in investment and 3,000 jobs.
Changing the environmental assessment process to require fewer reviews and limiting their scope was one of the more contentious elements of the Conservatives' recently-passed budget. Others included changes being made to old age security and transfer payments for health care.
"Not every one of these measures is easy or is popular with everybody," Harper said in a stump-style speech in a riding captured by the Tories in the 2011 federal election.
"But the reason we do them is they are all in the long-term best interests of this country."
Of the many places in Canada Harper goes each year, the North is among those where he clearly feels the most comfortable.
That warmth was on display early in the day when he and his wife visited with a group of sled dogs in training. The puppies frolicked about the Harpers as they petted them and quizzed the trainer about their upbringing.
As a Golden Retriever ambled by, Harper joked that it didn't look much like a sled dog.
It isn't, the handler admitted, but it does like the attention.
Northerners say they too want more attention from the prime minister.
As Harper addressed the rally, the steady thump of First Nations drums rolled underneath as about 40 protesters gathered outside the venue.
Members of the Carcross Tagish First Nation say they've not been treated fairly when it comes to how much federal funding they receive since they became self-governed.
Meanwhile, a group called Yukoners for Democracy were to hold what was billed as a "people's potluck," following up on a lunch earlier Monday that organizers had hoped Harper or the area's Tory MP Ryan Leef would attend.
Yukon resident Tory Russell said she was disappointed she wasn't able to meet the prime minister face to face.
"I would have asked him why communication with the government is such a one-way process," she said.
"How come we're not in a two way dialogue? It doesn't feel like representative government."
What Canada's government is is the envy of the world, Harper said in his speech.
"To succeed, what the world must become in the future is what Canada is today," he said, after taking a swipe at G8 partners in the United States, Japan and Europe and their teetering economies in the face of Canada's continued success.
Those countries are among many interested in the resources that lie in the North.
Next year, Canada takes over leadership of the Arctic Council and key among the issues it's facing is whether to allow more countries - including China - to have a seat at the table.
A Chinese icebreaker arrived in Iceland this week after becoming the first Chinese ship to cross the Arctic ocean.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird didn't appear concerned by the trip.
"The Chinese have an interest in the Arctic. So does Singapore for shipping, so does the European Union," he told reporters in Ottawa.
"We will engage with others leading up to the Arctic Council meeting in Sweden."
Harper's Northern tour this summer will focus mostly on economic and social development.
Monday's stop in Whitehorse is to be followed by a visit Tuesday to the Minto gold and copper mine and Wednesday, he'll go to Norman Wells, N.W.T., an oil and gas exploration hub.
He'll end the tour with a visit with troops taking part in Operation Nanook, the military's annual summer exercise in the North.
The Conservatives count asserting Canada's military sovereignty over the Arctic as one of their signature achievements.
But reports suggest the Defence Department doesn't feel there's a real military threat in the Arctic and meanwhile, a number of key projects in the region are behind schedule.
A series of new offshore patrol ships aren't expected to be operational until at least 2018, if not later.
A deepwater sea port announced in 2007 won't be under construction until at least next year.
Meanwhile, the future of an Arctic satellite project is up in the air.
Outside military commitments, the Conservatives say they've invested almost $113 million in economic and social development projects in the North.
They've also expanded national park areas in the Arctic, though critics charge those expansions don't make sense in light of the cuts being made to Parks Canada in the recent budget.
Northerners are also increasingly concerned about the high cost of living in the Arctic and there have been rolling protests in recent months following the introduction of a new federal food subsidy program.
- with files from the Whitehorse Star.
PRESS RELEASE: Feds Refuse to Meet Carcross/Tagish First Nation at Table
CARCROSS, YT, July 19, 2012 – On the day that Prime Minister Stephen Harper congratulated Shawn Atleo on his re-election as Assembly of First Nations national chief and highlighted his government's commitment to working with First Nations "toward common goals and improving standards of living and quality of life,” the Carcross/Tagish First Nation (C/TFN) received a written statement from the same government expressing the very opposite.
In the statement, originally received by the CBC, the federal government’s Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development said that Canada has made a funding offer to the Carcross/Tagish First Nation (C/TFN) and wishes to come to an “interim” agreement, so funding will not cease on Oct. 1, 2012. Not only is the funding offered inadequate, but an interim agreement will return the C/TFN to the dependency world of the Indian Band system they left behind when they became a self-governing nation on January 9, 2006.
“The Carcross/Tagish First Nation is very disappointed with the statement the CBC received from the Harper government about our First Nation,” said C/TFN Kha Shade Heni (Chief) Danny Cresswell. “They said that they have made an offer, but the only offer we have is inadequate funding that is not comparable to other self-governing Yukon First Nations. This is simply unacceptable.”
The C/TFN is one of 11 self-governing First Nations in the Yukon and one of 19 self-governing First Nations in the country. It achieved this status in 2006, through the constitutionally-mandated Self-Government Agreement. The C/TFN’s Financial Transfer Agreement (FTA) expired on March 31, 2012.
Federal negotiators came to the table without a mandate to provide comparable funding for essential programs and services. Their only offer was more than $17 million less in program and service funding than other comparable First Nations over the term of the agreement. The federal government demanded the C/TFN sign or see its funding withdrawn. Subsequently, the current FTA was extended until Oct. 1, 2012 at the First Nations request in an attempt to bring the federal government to the negotiating table.
The statement, provided by Aboriginal and Northern Affairs spokesperson Geneviève Guibert, said that Canada “wants to arrive at an interim arrangement that will allow for the First Nation to continue to be funded for the provision of programs and services to their citizens, even if agreement on a new FTA is not reached by October 1, 2012.” Cresswell disagrees and says that an interim agreement at current funding levels will only drive the First Nation into greater hardship.
“An interim agreement is unacceptable,” said Cresswell. “Our First Nation is already struggling, because it is extremely underfunded. We want the Harper government to come to the table now, and participate in equal government-to-government negotiations just as it does with provinces and territories. We only want what is fair.”
The C/TFN is a self-governing Yukon First Nation located in the southwest of Yukon. Their territory surrounds a portion of the Klondike highway that runs from Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon, including the Nares River Bridge, which is a vital gateway for Yukon commerce and trade.
The Carcross/Tagish First Nation is mandated to protect the environment, health, education and aboriginal rights of its people; to continue to preserve and protect its culture and traditions; to protect and develop its natural resources and strengthen its economy and the government of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation for future generations.
NEWS: CARCROSS TAGISH FN FINANCIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENT - WHITEHORSE/CBC RADIO SPECIAL REPORT (7:45 A.M.) - JULY 18, 2012
SANDI COLEMAN: As you’ve heard in the local news the Carcross-Tagish First Nation is refusing to sign an old funding agreement with the federal government. The first nation has been self governing for six years but its agreement is ten years old.
NEWS: CARCROSS TAGISH FN FINANCIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENT - WHITEHORSE/CHON-FM RADIO SPECIAL REPORT (7:45 A.M.) - JULY 18, 2012
PETER NOVAK: The government of Canada is threatening to defund the Carcross Tagish FN. Joining us on the line is Danny Cresswell, the chief of the first nation.
NOVAK: What’s the situation here? What’s the dispute?
CRESSWELL: Well, the financial transfer agreement needs to be negotiated every five years. What has happened is that Canada has come to the deal with the First
Nations that have signed before us and instead of coming to our table to negotiate they basically came to the table with the same agreement and said everybody else signed this so the only mandate we have is to talk about this agreement. We don’t have a mandate to talk about anything else at the negotiating table.
NOVAK: Have the government officials from Ottawa said why they want to do the same sort of treatment across the board with first nations.
CRESSWELL: Well, they’re looking at the bigger picture and a few years down the road it’s going to do a fiscal harmonization. That’ll be the same formula driven finance agreement for all self governing First Nations right across Canada and the agreement they came to in the Yukon, the first 10 signed it off and we looked at it and we said there’s some big problems with having this agreement but then we said as long as we’re treated fairly, equally as the other first nations that signed ahead of us because even though we signed farther back, 11 years behind the first ones, everybody initially took down Indian Act funding. That was the funding we were getting at the time and then there was supposed to be some reviews ... comparable funding with the other governments. The only other government was YTG so they looked at ... and even though we were coming along behind we would go through the funding agreements and go through the reviews so we would have comparable funding. Well, under this new agreement if we sign on we don’t get to have comparable funding with the programs and services. Under the governance part of our agreement we will. They recognize that but they wouldn’t do it for the programs and services so the first nations who signed way before us there’s a difference - if we would have signed at the same time and had it rolled forward over that many more years the difference is $1.6 million dollars and that’s what these reviews were supposed to do, put everybody on the same level playing field here.
NOVAK: What would this mean to the first nations then if you wound up signing the current agreement that is being proposed? What would the impact be?
CRESSWELL: Initially we would get a little bit more money up front and then further down the road we would be getting less than if we stuck with the agreement we have now and we’ve got no problem signing this new agreement. We went to the general council and people said as long as we’re treated fairly. We need to have the same funding levels right now. We’re not delivering services, programs and services 10 years ago. We’re all doing this today, right now and we should be at the same level playing field today.
NOVAK: How would you describe the tone of the negotiations?
CRESSWELL: Well, there is no negotiations. Basically they said the only thing they could talk about is that agreement, that’s it. Many of the meetings we had in Ottawa all got cancelled. We made it down for a bit of a lobby trip and this agreement expired March 31st and we got a six month extension. Canada had to do something and we went down and did a bit of a lobby trip saying we need an extension. We need a change of mandate. They need a mandate to negotiate not just give us basically a take it or leave it offer and they gave us a six month extension and we still got the same take it or leave it offer and we’re not getting any meetings. We had a meeting set up in Ottawa. We had the tickets and everybody was ready to go and we get a call there’s no meeting. It’s cancelled
and then we don’t hear back so we’re just in limbo right now. I mean, these agreements were signed to create certainty for Canada through the land claims agreements, certainly for Yukon and we figured we had certainty as well so we can implement these agreements, become self governing and you’re not totally self governing the day you sign it even though you are. You start taking on the programs and services. Some of the bigger ones you take down over the years and become self governing, fully implement your agreements and now we can’t implement
our agreements and we’re the only ones sitting here with uncertainty. Just leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you spend so many years - together today for our children tomorrow, 1972 in February, this February coming up that’s the 40th anniversary. We’re 6 years into self government, that’ll be 7 years and defunded. We might as well be an Indian Act band that the government can just say no to and do what they want.
NOVAK: What is next in this dispute?
CRESSWELL: Well, we’ve started going to the media on this and we will start trying to lobby government again, get back at them. It’s coming down to a political decision here. We need to know if the politicians, the minister or the PM actually want to go down this road. Are they about to do that? This will make history in Canada. It will make international history. They’re about to defund a self governing first nation, an order of government with a land claim agreement that’s constitutionally protected. I don’t know if they’re being fully briefed on what’s about to happen. So we’re not getting any word from them. We got some letters from the minister of the department and basically you know give us an extension and let’s take another look at this agreement. Well, we looked at this agreement.
NOVAK: We’ll continue to follow this story. Thank you.
NEWS: CARCROSS TAGISH FN FINANCIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENT - WHITEHORSE/CHON-FM RADIO NEWS (7:30 A.M.) - JULY 18, 2012
CHANTEL RONDEAU: The Carcross Tagish FN says Ottawa is threatening to defund its government. CTFN has had a six month extension in their financial transfer agreement and have not resolved their outstanding issues with funding. The first nation is looking for the same amount of money that other self governing first nations in the Yukon get.
Chief Danny Cresswell says that amounts to $1.6 million dollars. He says the federal government has said they are not giving an extra extension and if the funding agreement offered is not signed by Oct. 1st CTFN will be defunded.
DANNY CRESSWELL: YT's got an $840 million dollar transfer agreement from the federal government. Well, we have a transfer agreement too. Ours is treating us unfairly to sign onto this new deal. Would they defund a province or a territory?
RONDEAU: Cresswell says the first nation needs to be treated fairly to negotiate and move forward.
NEWS: CARCROSS TAGISH FN FINANCIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENT - WHITEHORSE/CBC RADIO NEWS (7:30 A.M.) - JULY 18, 2012
ELLYN JONES: A former Yukon government land claim negotiator says he’s getting angry thinking of the self government funding dispute in Carcross. Barry Stuart was chief negotiator for the Penikett government in the 80s. He says his mandate was to ensure fairness to all Yukoners.
Stuart says being fair to first nation governments meant ensuring they had the money to run their programs. He says he’s saddened that Aboriginal Affairs is threatening to end funding for the Carcross Tagish FN if they don’t sign their financial transfer agreement. Stuart says by funding them properly Canada can end problems introduced by colonization.
BARRY STUART: All of those will go away. Instead of people being unemployed they’ll be employed but to do that this first nation and every first nation has to be funded to the degree that they’re capable of running a government. They’re not now.
JONES: CT chief Dan Cresswell says its funding could be cut off as of Oct. 1st. He says they’re investigating legal options. A general council meeting set for
Sept. will decide their next steps.
NEWS: CARCROSS TAGISH FN FINANCIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENT - WHITEHORSE/CBC RADIO NEWS (6:30 A.M.) - JULY 18, 2012
ELLYN JONES: A former Yukon government land claim negotiator is saddened by a funding dispute with a self governing first nation. Carcross Tagish FN says
Ottawa is threatening to pull is funding if it doesn’t agree to a financial transfer agreement. The first nation could see its funding cut by the end of Sept. if the dispute is not resolved.
LEONARD LINKLATER: Barry Stuart was a land claim negotiator for the Penikett government in the 80s. He says his mandate was to make sure land claims was fair to all Yukoners.
BARRY STUART: And to be fair for the first nations you required them to have the capacity to run their own government.
LINKLATER: The Carcross Tagish chief believes all Yukon first nations are under-funded and it gets $1.6 million less than most. Stuart says it makes no sense
Ottawa would demand they sign a deal that would continue that.
STUART: I’m very saddened by what’s happening now because I think we’re just opening up a new generation that’s going to be just like the last one. It’s going to be a generation of fighting and not a generation of partnerships.
LINKLATER: Stuart says he cannot believe the PM or even the aboriginal affairs minister are aware of the situation. He says proper funding for self government would be good for all Canadians.
NEWS: Carcross/Tagish First Nation Transfer Agreement - Whitehorse/CBC Radio Special Report (5:15 PM) July 17, 2012
DAVE WHITE: The Carcross Tagish FN says Ottawa is threatening to cut off its funding. That’s because the first nation will not sign its financial transfer agreement, the deal that came with its self government agreement. If the deadlock is not resolved, funding for them will end on Oct. 1st.
Barry Stuart is a former YTG land claims negotiator. He says the federal government should be negotiating with the Yukon first nation.
BARRY STUART: I’m very sad and I think through the sadness there’s some anger beginning to well up because this is not what was expected and I don’t understand.
It’s not in the best interests of the federal government to do this. It’s absolutely not in their interests. They want to get every first nation to be a healthy first nation looking after itself. The amount of money they complaint about wasting on social services, on treatment centres, on everything that first nations have had to struggle since they were colonized, are crazy.
All of those will go away and instead of people being unemployed they’ll be employed but to do that this first nation and every first nation has to be funded to the degree that they’re capable of running a government. They’re not now. So I’m just speechless.
I really haven’t adjusted myself yet to recognize what’s going on. I just think that it’s probably not got to the PM. It’s probably not got to the minister in a way that they fully understand what they’re doing. This can’t be our government saying no we’re just going to walk away from the table and as a bargaining tool that’s not how you bargain with nations that you want to have good relationships with. Nobody does that anywhere over the world, just to walk out and say we’re no longer going to be friends because we’re no longer going to be in a partnership that’s going to make sure you get on your feet and be able to function as self government should.
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