September 2020 Update

Who is the Governance Committee?
Pillar 7 (Governance) Committee, is made up of:

  • Chief Stacey Laforme;
  • Councillor Julie LaForme, as Pillar 7 Lead;
  • Councillor Cathie Jamieson, as Pillar 3 Lead;
  • the Chief Operating Officer, Kailey Thomson;
  • the Director of Lands Membership and Research, Margaret Sault; and
  • the Governance Coordinator, Cait Beresford.

– Also have participation from other Pillar Leads along the way
– As well as have Admin. Clerk, Raynia Seymour and Office Clerk, Caytlen Burning.

Meetings with Canada
– We meet with Canada at the formal table every 4-6 weeks and continue our discussions about MCFN’s self-government work
– We will begin developing proposals for negotiation shortly, that will include topics such as infrastructure (the administration building, LSK expansion, cultural center, etc); public safety and justice (long term vision of an indigenous peoples court, peacekeepers, etc); stewardship / co-management of MCFN lands (land, water, climate action, etc); and revenue sharing (economic development)
– These proposals will assist Canada’s negotiator in drafting submissions to Cabinet so that MCFN can begin negotiating agreements rather than just having discussions on some of these topics. It is the next step in self-government and one that MCFN will be jointly involved in drafting.

MCFN Governance – Internal
Capacity
– We are in the process of posting for, and hiring a number of positions, including, but not limited to:

  • Engagement/Communications Lead;
  • Director of Intergovernmental Affairs;
  • Policy Analyst; and
  • Others.

– These positions and the people who fill them, will be instrumental to the Committee and in moving MCFN governance forward.

Strategic Planning and Governance Structure
– The Committee, in supporting the COO, is assisting with MCFN’s strategic planning and the development of the MCFN Governance structure (ie. What the Governance Department is going to look like long term).
– This is an ongoing process that continues to develop and evolve
– We are completing the gathering of input from MCFN staff and directors that will feed into the administrative aspects of this process

Engagement with Community Members and the Public
– One of the priorities of the Committee, once the Engagement and Communications Lead position is filled, is to develop and draft a MCFN Governance-specific engagement and communications strategy.
– This strategy will outline how members, the public, and governments will be engaged with regarding MCFN’s governance.
– It will also outline how members, the public, and governments will be communicated with
– It will be a clear process for members to see, and know, how the Committee and Council will engage with them.

Specific Activities

Constitution
– Developing a MCFN-specific constitution is one of the main priorities of Council and the Committee
– In the winter 2020, the Committee invited a Knowledge Keeper and youth to participate on a Constitution Committee
– With COVID 19 appearing in March 2020, the selection of the youth members was put on hold
– In August 2020, the Committee selected three youth to participate on the Constitution Committee: Austin Sault, Clarice King, and Tomasita LaForme, and confirmed participation of Harry LaForme as a Knowledge Keeper.
– The Constitution Committee will be holding its first meeting in September 2020
– The Constitution Committee will review previously researched materials on drafting constitutions and then will meet with members to engage with you on what you think a MCFN constitution should contain
– The Constitution Committee will then oversee the drafting of the constitution, which will be presented for feedback by members on an ongoing basis until the Constitution Committee, the Governance Committee, and Council are happy with a draft that the members can vote on.

Statement of Law Making Jurisdiction
– This community approval law and associated legal development handbook is in its final stages of being drafted for presentation to Council and the Members
– The hope of this law is to set out the process for how ratification votes will take place when a law is drafted and needs to be approved of by the members
– The legal development handbook will also be a resource for directors and staff who want to draft a specific law on a matter they work in (say education or child welfare, for example). The handbook will set out considerations that each department will need to think about and creates a unified process for drafting laws. This ensures that MCFN laws are worded in the same way and undergo the same process along the way!
– The Committee will be presenting this draft law to members hopefully in the fall 2020

Community Planning
– As part of the work that Council and the COO are doing around the reorganization of the administrative side of MCFN, the Committee is also hoping to begin undertaking a review and development of a MCFN-specific comprehensive community plan.
– The Committee is in the process of reviewing proposals from a number of consultants who have worked extensively with Indigenous communities across Canada in this field and are hoping to begin this review sometime in October or early-November 2020. This process will take some time to complete but will allow for ample opportunity for members to participate and provide feedback on

MCFN Justice
– Another big priority for Council and the Committee is around MCFN justice. The Committee is in the process of developing a proposal to take to Council on the establishment of an administrative tribunal as a decision making/enforcement body for MCFN.
– An administrative tribunal is needed to enforce and adjudicate MCFN laws and bylaws, will address complaints against Council, the Administration, and individual members.
– The Committee is proposing that the administrative tribunal include aspects of the mainstream system, as well as traditional practices in addressing complaints, such as restorative practices, mediation, and arbitration. It will have an indigenous-specific focus in its operation and be more appropriate to indigenous ways of addressing complaints and charges.
– The Committee is also working on a framework for implementing a peacekeepers program within the community
– The need for community-based security has been made very clear to Council and the Committee, following the impact that COVID has had within the community
– The Committee is hoping to hire a coordinator who will help facilitate this program and it is hopeful that MCFN peacekeepers can be in place within the year.

Election Law
– The Committee is preparing to continue its work on the election law following engagement by Margaret Sault, Dept of Lands, Membership and Research in 2019.
– The Committee will review members’ feedback and will begin to undertake redrafting of the law, following the process outlined in the legal development handbook and is hoping to present the next draft to the community this fall. The Committee is projecting holding a membership approval vote in late Spring 2021.

Mississauga Nation
– The Chiefs of the six Mississauga Nation First Nations continue to meet on a regular basis
– The Committee has begun to meet with the Mississauga Nation Coordinator and Community Liaison Representative and will be looking to work collaboratively with both individuals moving forward, so as to support and coordinate governance work.
– The Committee assures the members that the priority is to move MCFN governance along and it will do so even if the Mississauga Nation isn’t ready yet.

Harvesting Rights within MCFN Territory
– The Committee is also beginning to work on asserting MCFN jurisdiction over its territory as it relates to harvesting rights, such as fishing, hunting, etc.
– The Committee is beginning to develop a work plan that will set out timelines for moving this project forward.
– The Chief has also had some initial discussions with a few municipalities who have shown interest in entering into agreements with MCFN on this topic.
– There is lots of work to do here and the Committee is excited to begin this work as it moves forward into the fall 2020/winter 2021.

MCFN Land Claims
– The Land Claims Committee, which is a sub-committee of the Governance Committee, has been continuing to meet monthly to discuss MCFN’s ongoing and submitted claims.
– Treaties 22/23 supplemental legal argument was submitted in August 2020
– MCFN is hoping to make an offer to Canada and Ontario with respect to the Rouge River Valley Tract claim in the fall 2020
– Council has decided to put a hold on the review of MCFN’s water claim given the ongoing Saugeen Ojibway Nation water litigation, and has in fact decided to file its own court action to ensure its interests continue to be met around water within MCFN territory.
– MCFN legal counsel is hoping to have this action filed in early October 2020
– There are a number of additional claims that are in the research phase and the Land Claims Committee will be ready to work on those too!

Questions/Feedback
– If any of the members have further questions or feedback on any of these topics, or other topics that have not been discussed here, they can contact Councillor Julie LaForme, Pillar 7 (Governance) Lead at JulieL@mncfn.ca, or Councillor Cathie Jamieson, Pillar 3 (Environment and Sustainability, Stewardship for Land, Air, Water, and Natural Resources), at CathieJ@mncfn.ca.