Access to Justice Blocked by Massive Funding Cuts to Research

(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver – February 20, 2014) First Nations claims research organizations across Canada yesterday received notice that their research funding is being radically cut. Cuts range from 35% to 60%.

Chief Maureen Chapman, Chair of the UBCIC Specific Claims Working Group observes, “By cutting funding to develop claims, the Harper government denies these claims the access to justice that is offered by the Tribunal, the only part of the specific claims resolution process that seems to be upholding the honour of the Crown.  These funding cuts are forcing research organizations to stop work on claims where research is well underway and to forgo researching new claims.  None of these claims can access the Tribunal. None of these claims can be resolved.”

Claims research organizations develop specific land claims for member First Nations throughout Canada. Specific claims arise when Canada fails to meet its lawful obligations to protect reserve lands and assets from illegal alienation and fails to honour treaty promises.  In 2008, the process to resolve these grievances was overhauled by the federal government in a new Specific Claims Action Plan. Justice at Last promised to resolve specific claims quickly, fairly and through negotiations and established an independent Tribunal to make final and binding decisions on claims that Canada either rejected o ...

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