ARCHIVED — Vol. 146, No. 4 — February 15, 2012

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SI/2012-5 February 15, 2012

EEYOU MARINE REGION LAND CLAIMS AGREEMENT ACT

Order Fixing February 15, 2012 as the Day on which the Act Comes into Force

P.C. 2012-25 February 2, 2012

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, pursuant to section 15 of the Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement Act, chapter 20 of the Statutes of Canada, 2011, hereby fixes February 15, 2012 as the day on which that Act comes into force.

EXPLANATORY NOTE

(This note is not part of the Order.)

Proposal

Recommendation by the Minister to His Excellency the Governor in Council to fix the date of February 15, 2012, to bring the Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement Act into force.

Purpose

This Order in Council submission brings into force an act to give effect to the Agreement between Crees of Eeyou Istchee and Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada concerning the Eeyou Marine Region.

Background

The Agreement represents the resolution of outstanding business dating back to the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, signed in 1975 by the Quebec Crees, the Nunavik Inuit, the Government of Canada, the Government of Quebec and Hydro-Québec. The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement did not address the Crees’ claim to the offshore islands and marine area.

While exploratory discussions have taken place on a number of occasions since 1975, the Crees’ claim regarding the offshore islands was formally accepted for negotiation by Canada in 2003. The Agreement and Implementation Plan were initialled by the negotiators on June 29, 2009. A referendum committee prepared for and conducted the Cree referendum vote, held from March 15 to 26, 2010. The vote was held in the nine Cree communities and other locations across the northern part of Quebec where some of the Crees reside. Voter turnout was 74% of eligible voters. An overwhelming 70.5% of Cree voters supported the Agreement.

The Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement was signed by the Crees, the Government of Canada and the Government of Nunavut on July 7, 2010. The Act is intended to give effect and force of law to the Agreement. This Order in Council brings the Act into force and represents the final stage of Canada’s ratification of the Agreement. The coming into force of the Agreement will resolve Part A of the longstanding Coon Come III litigation between Canada and the Crees related to the Nunavut offshore islands. The Act includes a preamble and provides for the Governor General in Council to make any necessary regulations to implement the Agreement.

Based on section 15 of the Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement Act, the Governor General in Council is to fix a day upon which the Act will come into force.

Financial implications

When the Act comes into force, Canada will provide a capital transfer of $69.4M, which will be transferred to the Crees in 10 instalments from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, and a one-time payment of $5.9M for implementation funding. The negotiation loans will be deducted from the capital transfer payment. Canada will also provide the Crees with a share of any future resource royalties. Finally, Canada will provide $5M to be paid out to the Eeyou Marine Region Wildlife Board to assist the Board in carrying out its research functions.

Consultation

The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has consulted externally with the Nunavut government and the Crees for the purposes of determining an effective date for the Act to come into force.

Federal/provincial/territorial relations

The Quebec government was not consulted on the drafting of the Act or on the determination of the effective date as the Eeyou Marine Region is located outside its jurisdiction. However, as a courtesy, the Quebec government was kept informed regularly about the negotiation of the Eeyou Marine Region Land Claims Agreement as the Crees are Quebec residents. The Government of Nunavut is a signatory to the Agreement and has provided its support to the Act.

Departmental contact

For more information, please contact Guylaine Ross, Senior Negotiator, at 819-997-8781.