Qalipu Watchdogs presents concerns to interim minister

Published on February 20, 2013

CORNER BROOK — The Qalipu Watchdogs group is asking James Moore, the interim minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, to work towards a solution to concerns over the large number of applicants for membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band that is fair and equitable for all Newfoundland Mi’kmaq.

In a letter dated Feb. 18, the group provides Moore with the reasons for its formation.

“Our purpose is to act as a single voice for those remaining applicants to the Qalipu Band (and those involved in the appeal process) and to ensure that their concerns are raised for consideration by Canada, the FNI (Federation of Newfoundland Indians) and the Qalipu Band.”

At issue for the group is the future of some 70,000 applications that have yet to be processed and a review of the application process started by the federal government in response to the large number of applicants.

“Our objective is to ensure that Canada extends the enrolment application review process to all applicants of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band on a timely basis and in a manner fully consistent with the precedents, considerations and methods used by the enrolment committee and the appeal master in the first stage of the enrolment process,” said the letter.

“In addition, we want to ensure that current Qalipu Band members and those who are already registered under the Indian Act are not prejudiced by an alternative assessment not already provided for in the 2007 agreement (on the band’s formation).”

The group believes that any deviation from this would constitute a fundamental breach of the 2007 agreement.

“In total, nearly 103,000 Newfoundland Mi’kmaq applied for membership under the Qalipu Band in good faith and everyone of these individuals deserves answers on what’s happening and equal opportunity to have their applications reviewed and processed.”

The group also indicated to Moore that it is willing to meet with him to discuss the issues and concerns raised in the letter.