Voting “No” means:
- No settlement. This means Nipissing First Nation members, present and future, will not have per-capita money nor funds in trust.
- No certainty. Without the Nipissing First Nation Boundary Settlement agreement, the only option to force a land and cash settlement is federal court. But the courts have historically not included land in these kinds of settlements. So the reality is, we would need to roll the dice and hope the court orders a settlement of more than $129 million. It’s really a long shot.
- No sense. There is really no financial, legal or strategic benefit to a “no” vote.
Voting “Yes” means:
- A fair and just settlement. We are being compensated for loss of historical use, inflation, and fair market value. We are getting the value for the land back, and more!! For a boundary claim, $129 million is absolutely unheard of in Canada.
- A Per Capita distribution. This is not my favourite selling point but would pay a lot of bills for many Band members who truly need it.
- Unprecedented Opportunity. This is an incredible opportunity for our current and future generations of Nbisiing Anishinaabeg. It will have a tremendous impact and benefit to our community, more than we’ve seen in any generation.
There is a lot we can do with these funds:
- Buying more reserve land in more “hospitable” areas. The boundary lands in question are either already in use or mainly in swampy, inaccessible areas;
- Leveraging mortgage programs and additional lands for housing loans.
- More community social housing.
- Improved infrastructure for Yellek and Duchesnay.
- Treatment programs and facilities for prescription drug abusers, not only for us, but for First Nations across the North. A regional prescription drug abuse facility would be a tremendous asset for our community and create jobs and revenue.
- Community youth and recreational programming.
- A Nipissing First Nation Post-Secondary Education Bursary Program.
- Finally, fulfilling our community vision of an Anishinaabe elementary school.
- A long-term care facility. It would be a dream come true if my Mom can spend her last days, looking out on the Lake she loves so much, surrounded by her family and friends in a home on our First Nation.
But this won’t happen without a “yes” vote. It won’t happen if we decided to spend it all “per capita” on the current membership. It also won’t happen without putting some trust and faith in our advisors and leadership to act on our behalf. If you feel you’re not being heard or served, please run for Council, sit on a Committee or volunteer to be a Trustee.