© Geraldine Brophy
Brendan Sheppard, left, chief of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band, and Liberal MP Gerry Byrne have a few words in the band office following the Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 protest.
CORNER BROOK — Gerry Byrne will not be minding his own business as concerns linger about the future direction of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band.
Byrne was told to do so by Chief Brendan Sheppard after inquiring about a number of issues his constituents raised about the unprocessed applications and concerns of status decertification.
Things culminated into a protest outside the band council office in Corner Brook Monday. Afterwards, the tumultuous back-and-forth between Sheppard and Byrne continued.
Tuesday, Byrne issued a press release stating he’s filed the first of what he says will be a series of access to information requests regarding the future of the band enrollment process.
He filed an order paper question of the federal government, and said he used a procedural tactic that requires an answer around Feb. 1 when Parliament resumes.
Byrne’s question reads as follows:
“With regard to the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band and the contracted engagement of Mr. Fred Caron by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada: (a) what does this contract say; (b) what are the terms of reference associated with this contract; (c) what are the objectives and the intended consequences arising from work conducted through this contract; (d) what is contained within the approved workplan for the conduct of this contract; (e) on what date did Fred Caron sign this contract; (f) on what date did the contracting authority of the government sign this contract; (g) how long is the engagement anticipated to last; (h) what is the contractor's rate of pay; (i) how much money has been budgeted for his remuneration; (j) how much money has been budgeted for expenses including support services and has any specific mandate been given to this contractor to consult on potential changes to the 2007 Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band agreement-in-principle which was ratified and brought into effect on September 26, 2011?”
Byrne claims Fred Caron, a former departmental lawyer and federal land claims negotiator, has been hired to work on the rules of eligibility for band enrollment. He also said no further details have been given by the band or Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada Minister John Duncan.
“Let’s find out what they say next week,” Byrne said in the press release.