With the Ontario Provincial election upcoming, the Robinson Huron Treaty Litigation Fund (RHTLF) leadership are calling on electoral candidates to commit to supporting a resolution of the Robinson Huron Treaty annuities case.
This is the wake of the provincial government’s announcement in January that it would be filing for an appeal of the recent decision in the case of Restoule v. Canada (Attorney General) & Ontario (Attorney General), otherwise known as Stage One and Stage Two of the Robinson Huron Treaty annuities case.
In September of 2014, the Robinson Huron Treaty First Nations brought a court action against the federal and provincial governments, with the claim that the Crown breached a promise to augment the annuity payable under the Treaty.
The Ontario Superior Court ruled in favour of the Anishinaabe in 2018. The federal government accepted that decision, but Ontario appealed and stage one and two of that appeal took place in May and June of 2021, respectively.
Ogimaa Duke Peltier of Wiikwemkoong Unceded First Nation told Sudbury.com in January that he was disheartened when he heard the news, but said he knew immediately that it was another in a line of delay tactics. Delaying, he said, until a specific date passes.
“In my personal opinion, it has to do with an event coming up in June,” he said, referring to the 2022 provincial election. “I think they are looking to delay until after that event.”
As the event in question approaches, RHTLF leadership is calling for a negotiated settlement, one they say has been encouraged by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Appeal.
This month, the RHTLF sent letters to the leaders of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, the Ontario Greens, the Ontario Liberal Party, and the Ontario New Democratic Party urging each party to commit to reaching a negotiated settlement with the Robinson Huron Treaty First Nations.
“Ontario must remain committed to not only settling the Annuity case, but to renewing the Treaty relationship and reaching agreement on the future implementation of the Robinson Huron Treaty,” said Peltier in a press release from RHTLF.
“Let your constituents choose to vote for a future that honours and upholds its responsibilities to reconciliation and to the Robinson Huron Treaty,” added Chief Dean Sayers of Batchewana First Nation.
The RHTLF are asking all MPP candidates and parties to make a commitment for Ontario to reach a negotiated settlement with the Robinson Huron Treaty First Nations. They are also calling on those who support upholding Treaty responsibilities to add their name to their petition.