Nova Scotia

Membertou refusing to renew federal funding agreement

A Sydney reserve stands to lose millions of dollars in funding if it refuses to sign a restrictive renewal with the federal government.

Signing deadline for $5.5M funding agreement just days away

A Sydney reserve stands to lose millions of dollars in funding if it refuses to sign a restrictive renewal with the federal government.  

Three Nova Scotia bands, including Millbrook, Bear River and Pictou Landing reluctantly renewed their contribution agreements worth millions of dollars, despite concerns that renewing may limit the bands’ ability to challenge the federal government in the future.

The Membertou band has refused to sign the renewal and risks losing $5.5 million in annual funding for basic services when the current agreement expires on March 31.

"It was about adherence to federal laws and regulatory regimes as well as all the different clauses that are basically the implementation of the First Nations Accountability Act," said John Paul of the Atlantic First Nations Chiefs.

Funding renewal amounts per band 

Bear River: amount unknown

Pictou Landing:  $3 million, 1 year deal

Millbrook: a $60 million, over 5 years

"The funding that’s provided, provides essential services to the community whether it be income assistance, education, housing and so on. So, you really don’t have much choice … I don’t know how long [Membertou] can operate without the federal money."

Membertou Chief Terry Paul said the band has serious concerns about what the federal government is doing.

For example, Nova Scotia bands are concerned over last year’s Omnibus Budget Bill, fearing the massive legislation may overturn some victories won in the Marshall decision.

The federal government did not respond to inquiries made by the CBC.

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