The federal government has hired a negotiator to handle the Lubicon Lake Band’s decades-long land claim.
Ralph Peterson will be responsible for leading talks around creating a reserve, building on future reserve lands, and the Lubicon’s claims to other treaty benefits.
He is a former partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers and has worked with professionals and stakeholders to negotiate agreements.
Lubicon Chief Billy Joe Laboucan says he’s pleased with the appointment.
“To be able to secure land and the proper education, the economic development for all of us. Today I’m really happy that we are at another milestone in being able to resolve this almost 80 year old claim.”
Laboucan says his elders first started the process in the early 1930s.
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Bernard Valcourt has assured the band they’re committed to reconciliation.
“Based on the progresses that we have witnessed and made in the recent past, the determination and spirit of mutual respect I see on all sides, I believe we have every reason because of that to be optimistic that we will achieve that goal.”
Premier Jim Prentice met with the chief and council last fall, and he has reiterated that the province is willing to provide the Crown land for reserves when needed.
“Today marks the beginning, I think, of an important process, one that I hope will move along with dispatch, and one that I’m confident will see the successful settlement of this in a fair and equitable manner for all of the parties who are involved.”
The Lubicon Lake Band is the last Treaty 8 community that was missed when treaties were formed more than 100 years ago.