OTTAWA, April 2, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and Brendan Sheppard, Chief of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation, today announced the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) have doubled the number of members to the Qalipu Mi'kmaq Enrolment committee.
The new Enrolment Committee members will apply the same approach to reviewing the files in accordance the 2008 Agreement and the 2013 Supplemental Agreement. The additional four members continue to offer equal representation from the Mi'kmaq and the Government of Canada.
Further, the parties have agreed to extend the deadline for the Enrolment Committee to review the 94,000 eligible applications for enrolment in the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation. The new deadline for completion of the review process will be June 30, 2016 and, as a result, the deadline for completion of the appeals process will be January 31, 2017.
The extension will ensure that the decisions rendered by the Enrolment Committee on eligibility will be the result of a sound, equitable and a rigorous process of evaluation.
Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians are committed to ensuring that all applicants for membership in the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation are treated fairly and equitably. When the enrolment process concludes, applicants will be notified by mail with regard to their eligibility.
- When Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949, Mi'kmaq communities were not recognized as First Nations under the Indian Act and their legal status, as well as the status of their members, was uncertain.
- Discussions between the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians led, in 2008, to the Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq Band and, in September 2011, an Order in Council established the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation as a "band" under the Indian Act.
- A review of applications for founding membership in the First Nation, except those previously rejected, is underway to ensure that applicants meet the criteria for eligibility set out in the 2008 Agreement. This includes the applications of all those who have gained Indian status as members of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation.
"The Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation enrolment process is an important initiative and our Government and the FNI are committed to ensuring it is done in a fair and rigorous fashion."
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
"The Enrolment Committee has been very thorough to date in evaluating applications and the extended deadline is required to make sure all 94,000 applications continue to be reviewed fairly and thoroughly."
Chief of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation
Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Enrolment Process
Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band
June 2013 Supplemental Agreement
SOURCE Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
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