I recently received the email below from good friends of ours. Philip Edward Island is one of our favourite paddling destinations (see the pictures in this gallery) and the news below comes as a bit of a shock. If you would like to help please check out the links below:
Like this Facebook page to spread the word about the Wiikwemkoong Land Claim.
Update: According to the information on the Georgian Bay Association website the deadline for public consultation is October 16, 2015.
Note: The three letters to the MAA that are linked on that page are very informative and the sample letter provides a great start to getting involved.
We need your help!
Bill and I have had a very busy summer in Georgian Bay due to a large First Nations Land Claim that was presented to us the beginning of August. We are both on the board of our local cottage association where this land claim affects every single private land owner. We own property in a very remote, water access area of Georgian Bay with the closest town being Killarney and are surrounded by crown land.
The Wiikwemkoong on Manitoulin Island have made a claim of 41 fishing islands that the government has agreed they have a right to. We do not oppose the island boundary claim. We sympathise with the past wrongs our government has imposed on the First Nations people.
However, one of the islands within this claim is Fitzwilliam (off the south east shoreline) a very large island (15,000 acres) and privately owned. The American owner does not want to sell. The government does not expropriate land for land claims. The Wiky do not want the fair market value dollars offered but rather want land and will not compromise, according to the negotiator for the province.
The government is proposing to exchange Fitzwilliam for the most beautiful, unique island and all its’ hundreds of surrounding islands .... Philip Edward Island ... across the bay from Manitoulin and outside the island boundary claim agreed on by the Wiky and the governments. This is crown land owned by the province. It will cost the provincial government zero cents to transfer it to the Wiky. The islands in question are freely used as crown land by thousands of kayakers, canoeists, yachts, campers, cottagers and the local residents and businesses of Killarney every year.
It is a pristine wilderness, easily accessible like no other in all of Canada. The government had plans of making this whole area a coastal parkland. Now it will all become a First Nation Reservation.
The public in-put consultation period is about to end (Oct. 2.) We have been given a mere 50 days to comment. You as tax payers and owners of the crown land have not even been informed that this transfer is being considered.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org (corrected) with an objection. He is the Senior Negotiator with the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and is negotiating on your behalf. I am providing you with several statements to chose from if you wish to simply copy and paste to his email.
“I am adamantly opposed to the exchange of Fitzwilliam Island with Philip Edward Island and its’ archipelago in the Wiikwemkoong Islands Land Claim.”
“The islands between the French River and McGregor Bay are deemed the most unique and beautiful in Canada with a rich history from before the first explorers described them and into this century.
They should continue to be preserved for all who have freely used them in the past and present for future generations.
I am adamantly opposed to the provinces proposed alternative islands selection in the Wiikwemkoong Islands Land Claim!”
If you would like to ask him a question he will be more than happy to answer it. If you would like to send him a letter please do.
Freda and Bill