Fighting annuity issue in Robinson-Huron Treaty has not been cheap
The legal battle to settle an annuity claim 21 area First Nations, including Nipissing First Nation, brought against the federal and provincial governments has been expensive.
Mike Restoule, of NFN, was the lead on the case representing the First Nations and he says the cost to research the annuity issue combined with the eventual court appearances amounted to $12-15 million.
The annuity involves the terms under the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850 that specified the people of the 21 First Nations were to receive an annual annuity of $4.
The annuity was compensation for the revenue the provincial and federal governments would collect from land-based resources.
The Treaty called for the dollar amount of the annuity to rise as the governments’ revenues rose, however, that never happened.
For years First Nations met with provincial and federal officials to have the annuity increased.
However, with talks going nowhere, the First Nations took the matter to court so the judicial system could decide the issue.
On December 21st, Judge Patricia Hennessey ruled in favour of the First Nations saying the annuity should have gone up as government revenues rose.
But, the ruling gave no direction on the dollar amount saying instead that was something all parties would have to meet over.
My North Bay Now. com is waiting to hear back from federal and government officials to see what their share of the legal costs were to defend their position in court.