1. What is a Framework Agreement?
This Framework Agreement commits Canada, PEI and the Mi’kmaq to respectful and cooperative negotiations to deal with our outstanding Aboriginal and treaty rights claims. It sets out the guidelines for government-to-government-to-government negotiation processes.
2. What will be negotiated?
The agreement lists the areas that could be the subject of negotiations, from land and water to law making authority, but it also allows for other areas that are important to the Mi’kmaq to be raised, and also for the longer-term objective of a larger more comprehensive agreement.
While the Supreme Court of Canada has clearly acknowledged our Rights in many decisions, they have not clearly defined the Rights or how the Rights can be implemented. This has resulted in more litigation. The purpose of the Framework Agreement process is to determine what these Rights mean for the Mi’kmaq today and how we can use them for the benefit of the Mi’kmaq, through respectful negotiations instead of litigation, which the Supreme Court of Canada has consistently encouraged.
3. Is this a new Treaty?
No. The Framework Agreement recognizes the existence of Aboriginal and treaty rights that are protected under the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as court decisions such as Haida, Delgamuukw and Marshall. The Agreement will seek to resolve and settle outstanding claims with respect to existing Mi’kmaq Rights and Treaties through negotiation. The historic treaties of the Mi’kmaq will not be re-negotiated.
4. Does this agreement include all PEI Mi’kmaq people?
The agreement includes all Mi’kmaq, on and off reserve, who are beneficiaries of Mi’kmaq rights and title in PEI. There will be important work ahead by the community to determine how the Mi’kmaq of PEI define beneficiaries.
5. Who will represent the Mi’kmaq in these negotiations?
The First Nations’ leadership/Councils are responsible for the negotiations that happen through the Agreement. L’nuey will serve and support the leadership in the negotiation process. Any major decisions will need to be voted on by the PEI Mi’kmaq.
6. How will the community be involved and consulted in this process?
The Framework Agreement is just the beginning. While the structure and processes for technical Rights based work under the Agreement are just being developed, community input and direction will be the priority. All of the efforts under the Framework Agreement must be for the Mi’kmaq and by the Mi’kmaq.
7. When an Agreement is eventually reached, does it have to be approved by the community?
The agreement provides for a framework to achieve interim agreements on specific issues, and also for a larger more comprehensive agreement, which is a much longer-term self-government objective. Nothing will be approved without the direction and support of the Mi’kmaq leadership/the Councils, including how the Mi’kmaq will approve. The longer-term objectives for a more comprehensive agreement would require community ratification. The Mi’kmaq leadership will be starting the work with the community to design a voting process for issues or agreements that may come out of the Framework Agreement process.
8. Will we receive updates on the progress and status of negotiations?
Yes. One of the first priorities for the work to be done is establishing communications resources and processes. There will be open and frequent communications with the community. This website will be an important place for communicating information but there will also be many other opportunities for communication and engagement.