P.E.I. First Nations may try to block Mill River sale
Mi'kmaq Confederacy says province failed in its constitutional duty to get Aboriginal consent
First Nations chiefs on P.E.I. say they are shocked and disappointed to hear that the provincial government is proceeding with the sale of provincial Crown land that includes the Mill River Golf Course and Mill River Provincial Park.
The Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I. said Thursday the province failed in its constitutional duty to get consent from the Mi'kmaq.
The confederacy also raised the possibility of litigation to prevent the sale from happening.
"We will have to take all steps necessary to protect the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Mi'kmaq people and will be forced to examine litigation, including injunctive relief to prevent the sale," Abegweit First Nation Chief Brian Francis said in a news release.
However, in an email to CBC, the province said government has engaged and consulted with the Mi'kmaq Confederacy over the past four years and fulfilled its duty to consult on the potential conveyance of the properties associated with Mill River.
"The province will continue to work with the Aboriginal bands on economic development for their populations and for the province as a whole," the email added.
The Mi'kmaq governments said they have advised the province that a sale would "impact negatively on the constitutionally protected Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Mi'kmaq people."
In addition, the Mi'kmaq have asserted Aboriginal title to all of Prince Edward Island, the Mi'kmaq Confederacy's news release said.
Francis said the government should have met with the Mi'kmaq and had "meaningful discussions" as partners about the sale of the Mill River land. Instead, he told CBC, he was hand-delivered a letter Wednesday saying the sale was going through and heard the details on the news.
Francis called it "a sad day for the Indigenous Mi'kmaq people of P.E.I. and for our relationship with the provincial Crown."
"The province has talked about working with the Mi'kmaq in good faith and through a respectful and meaningful process; however, it appears that this was not sincere and that they are content to carry on with no concern for our rights or upholding the honour of the Crown," he said.