MP Johns Criticizes Government for Impeding Compensation for Huu-ay-aht

 OTTAWA – The Liberal government has halted the awarding of $13.8 million to the Huu-ay-aht First Nation over the federal government’s mismanagement of logging contracts and ordered a judicial review of the case.

Today in Question Period, NDP MP Gord Johns (Courtenay-Alberni) urged the government to reverse their decision to block compensation to the Huu-ay-aht First Nation on Vancouver Island.

“Will the Minister stand by her words, call off the government lawyers, and commit in this House today to paying out the award without delay?” Johns asked the Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Carolyn Bennett.

He reminded the Minister of the government’s promise to end appeals of First Nations court rulings, quoting the Minister’s statement that “Negotiation rather than litigation is our government’s preferred route to settle these differences and right historical wrongs.”

Since 2005, the Huu-ay-aht First Nation has sought damages for the government decision to award logging contracts on their land between 1948 and 1969 without fair compensation for the First Nation. In 2014, the Specific Claims Tribunal found the federal government had committed multiple breaches of its fiduciary duty.

MP Johns delivered a letter to the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Indigenous Affairs, urging the government to respect the Specific Claims Tribunal Act and remember that its decisions are final and conclusive and not subject to appeal. The letter is co-signed by MP Johns and MLA Scott Fraser (Alberni-Pacific Rim).

“As a Member of the BC Legislature and Opposition Critic for Aboriginal Relations, I find the federal decision to apply for a judicial review of the Specific Claims Tribunal’s decision completely at odds with all principles of reconciliation and justice for the Huu-ay-aht People,” said MLA Fraser.

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