- By Rising Sun Staff
The Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the Algonquins of Ontario celebrated a major milestone in their journey toward reconciliation and renewed relationships by signing a historic Agreement-in-Principle (AIP), Oct. 18.
This is a key step toward a modern-day treaty to resolve a longstanding land claim that covers an area of 36,000 square kilometres in eastern Ontario.
“The signing of the Agreement-in-Principle today marks a critical step forward in a journey that began almost 250 years ago when the first Algonquin Petition was submitted to the Crown in 1772,” said Robert J. Potts Principal Negotiator and Senior Legal Counsel, Algonquins of Ontario. “As we move forward into the next phase of our negotiations, the Algonquins of Ontario look forward to working in cooperation with the Governments of Canada and Ontario to improve upon what we have achieved to date and build a strong and equitable modern-day treaty. We believe that together we can work towards reconciliation and securing the long delayed justice that the Algonquin people deserve.”
The non-binding AIP paves the way for continued negotiations toward a final agreement that will define the ongoing rights of the Algonquins of Ontario to lands and natural resources within the settlement area.
The AIP sets out the main elements of a potential settlement, including that the Algonquins of Ontario would receive $300 million in capital funding from Canada and Ontario and approximately but not less than 117,500 acres of provincial Crown lands would be transferred to Algonquin ownership.
If the negotiators are successful in achieving a final agreement, it will need to be approved by the Algonquins of Ontario voters in a ratification vote and then by the Ontario Legislature and Parliament of Canada. No privately-owned land will be taken away from anyone to settle the claim and no one will lose access to their private property.
Algonquin Park will remain a park for the enjoyment of all.
The goal is to provide clarity going forward for all who live and work in the claim territory, balance the rights and interests of all concerned and create new economic opportunities for the benefit of the Algonquins of Ontario and their neighbours.
“This major step toward Ontario’s first modern treaty shows what’s possible when strong partners work together in the spirit of reconciliation,” said David Zimmer Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “More than a million people share this land with the Algonquins of Ontario, and a modern treaty will clear a path for neighbours to become partners, bringing new economic opportunities to their communities.”