Byrne files access to information request

Cory Hurley
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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.

Geographic location: CORNER BROOK, Canada

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Recent comments

  • RY
    February 14, 2013 - 11:25

    Sheppard is a disgrace, he is arrogant, unprofessional and only has his interests in mind. How did a piece of work like this even get elected? I'm for transpiracy, you know full accounting...what's Sheppard's salary????????Agenda?

  • Janie Payne
    February 02, 2013 - 17:50


  • Joe Joe
    January 26, 2013 - 20:50

    Since conferderation Newfoundland people have being rob of thier heritage first it was, Joey Smallwood selling us out to the federal goverment for the Wellfare , baby bonus,and the resources off our province, which the federal government gladly took for nothing and too insult to this they said thier was no Indian decendent in nfld. While in the mean time they bring in immigrants and supply them with everything they need and let them change the culture and heritage of our land The government has courage enough to stand up to Canadian citizens and deny them thier rights but when it comes to immigrants they are yellow down thier backs I am not racist or predujice but shouldnt your own canadian citiziens come first .

  • Sheila Felix
    January 26, 2013 - 10:18

    Why is it that if a family member already has their federal status the rest of the family are excluded until their application is/is not approved. This doesn't make sense and if they changed this I'm sure 100's of applications could go through without all the work and save time for other applicants...

  • mellie
    January 24, 2013 - 13:22

    Wasnt to inpressed how he just dismissed Mr Byrne you think he was untouchable its the taxpayers money and its everyones buisness.Seems this is going on eveyrwere money tossed around with little or no accountabitity.Money earmarked for the people all over the country were is it going time someone asked some Questions were is the media on this.

  • JW
    January 24, 2013 - 01:17

    My greatest fear, because of all the events taking place, is that some members of this group may have their own agendas and dirty political practices. I applied more than 2 years ago and while I received a letter of approval, I still have not received my registration number. It's beginning to look as though the election process and schedule were pushed through in a rush to benefit certain individuals. I don't understand why government didn't hire sufficient staff to relieve some of the stress that has been placed upon the few current members. There were 4 staff members involved in processing applications. Something is definitely wrong with the whole organization in this matter. I was proud of my heritage when I discovered my ancestry. It pieced together a lot of the missing pieces of the puzzle, about our real ancestors, that was kept on the T.Q. all of my life until 2 years ago. I hope that this does not turn into a hate platform for the sake of our children and grand children. There are enough Newfie jokes circulating as it is. I don't want this to be one of them.

    • Brian
      January 25, 2013 - 09:24

      Are you implying this isn't already a newfie joke? EI or Status for handouts! Newfie dream! Isn't knowing yourself about your heritage enough? Why does the government need to register you? It's not about the money though.. right.

  • Kelly
    January 23, 2013 - 18:27

    I find it funny that someone is hired to work on rules of eligibility. I have family members that are founding members, if the rules change and I am told I have not provided enough significant information and will not be accepted as a member does that mean that founding members that have submitted the same information will lose there status? We submitted our information 13 months ago and still have not heard anything???

  • MaryP
    January 23, 2013 - 18:27

    I am not a lawyer or legal person at all.... so please excuse my ignorance... but.. with all this questionable activity with the qalipu band and its leadership (especially Brendan Sheppard), is there warrant for any formal investigation here? As the days go by, we hear of more and more questionable doings by Sheppard and his councillors leading up to the election and since the election. This doesn't look good for Qalipu's future.

  • MaryP
    January 23, 2013 - 18:25

    I am not a lawyer or legal person at all.... so please excuse my ignorance... but.. with all this questionable activity with the qalipu band and its leadership (especially Brendan Sheppard), is there warrant for any formal investigation here? As the days go by, we hear of more and more questionable doings by Sheppard and his councillors leading up to the election and since the election. This doesn't look good for Qalipu's future.

    • Talking Smoke
      January 23, 2013 - 18:42

      Mary you hit the nail right on the head. It sure doesn't look good for the Qualipu's future. In fact it doesn't look good for the present either. Personally I think the entire thing should be scrapped. Then let all the membership be established. Once that is done a new election can be called and then new negotiations with the feds. Until that happens it will be nothing more than what we are seeing now. It is a complete insult to the Mi'kmaq people in this province. I can understand why non-aboriginals are laughing at us. In fact even aboriginals are laughing at us.

  • Henry
    January 23, 2013 - 15:52

    Thanks Gerry, At least some one appears to be interested in justice for the potential members. I believe Brendan Sheppard should take note and learn from. Mr. Byrne. 70000 potential band members want answers. Heaven help. Chief Sheppard if we all get registered and he. expects us to vote for him in the next. election.

  • Paul
    January 23, 2013 - 15:07

    They're just too lazy to go through all of those applications. I've been waiting a long time now for status and now I'm afraid it will be ruined. Fire the Chief , he doesn't have the Mi'kmaq people as his priority. That usually means something else behind the scene is happening. Maybe look at his finances?!

  • Oqoti
    January 23, 2013 - 13:46

    JT - because of assimilation and colonization, DNA sampling isn't an accurate marker for who is Aboriginal in this case.

  • Todd
    January 23, 2013 - 09:47

    Mr. Byrne is certainly the man to stand up for the people. I have to give that to him. One of many who is out there and fighting for the rights of those he represents, his co-workers sit by and watch him, while they sit behind their desk. This man should run for Prime Minister. Thank for you to Mr. Byrne for standing up to Mr. Sheppard. It appears Mr. Sheppard has finally met someone who can stand up to him. Mr. Sheppard tries to intimidate people who ask him a question. Mr. Byrne has shown he cannot be told to butt out.

  • KR
    January 23, 2013 - 08:47

    Thanks Jerry for taking the lead on this critical file. Mr. Sheppard and his team needs to undestand that we are all EQUAL in our Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation status. Please show your follow brothers and sisters some respect and fight for a continuation of the enrollment process that represents ALL OUR peoples.

  • JT
    January 23, 2013 - 07:32

    ........'rules of eligibility'..???.......maybe it's time to use DNA sampling, there would be fewer questions about an applicant's genetics.