Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Agreement with feds signed 'under duress': First Nation

  • Print

OTTAWA — The chief and council of God’s Lake First Nation have accused the federal government of forcing it to sign its 2013 band contribution agreements "under duress."

God’s Lake passed a band council resolution April 8 saying it only signed its contribution agreements this year to avoid having Ottawa hold back funding for health care, education or other services, but that it did so "under duress."

All First Nations must sign contribution agreements with Ottawa each year that outline how much funding will flow and certain conditions. This year, God’s Lake received the documents Feb. 27 and were told they had to sign them and return them to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada by March 5.

Chief Gilbert Andrews wrote to AANDC saying he had signed the documents "conditionally" but still wanted to discuss the agreement with AANDC and the band’s co-manager. AANDC wrote back to say that was unacceptable and demanded Andrews "retract" his letter saying he had signed it conditionally.

The band did that on March 5. A month later, after reviewing the details of the contribution agreements, the chief and council passed a three-page band council resolution slamming the whole process.

The resolution criticizes the agreements for requiring First Nations to agree with all existing legislation and government publications as well as any amendments or changes that might be made to them in the future. That includes requiring the band to agree to more than 50 policies, manuals and guidelines which could be "amended from time to time."

The day before that resolution passed, AANDC released a statement saying it was not true that the new contribution agreements will keep First Nations from challenging government legislation in the courts.

"AANDC is committed to streamlining funding arrangements and reducing unneeded reporting by recipients, while maintaining its ability to account to Parliament and Canadians for the more than seven billion dollars with which we are entrusted annually," the statement read.

God’s Lake is the first Manitoba First Nation to speak publicly about this new requirement in contribution agreements, which many First Nations see as the government trying to use funding for basic services as a way to keep First Nations from criticizing federal legislation they don’t like.

Bands in Alberta, B.C. and the Atlantic region have all come out to criticize the process and some have threatened to take their complaints to the United Nations if Ottawa doesn’t tone down the language.

Sources tell the Free Press both Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak and God’s Lake Chief Gilbert Andrews feel the federal government bullied the band into signing the contribution agreements without providing enough time to review them.

Nepinak and Andrews will be holding a press conference or releasing a joint statement today.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


It’s the End Of the Term And They Know It, Part Two

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060711 Chris Pedersen breeds Monarch butterflies in his back yard in East Selkirk watching as it transforms from the Larva or caterpillar through the Chrysalis stage to an adult Monarch. Here an adult Monarch within an hour of it emerging from the Chrysalis which can be seen underneath it.
  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005

View More Gallery Photos


Has the attack on Parliament hill shaken your faith in Canada's ability to protect its citizens from terrorist threats?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google