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Indigenous leaders pushing governments to settle after landmark ruling





Leaders from Robinson-Huron treaty are now calling on provincial and federal governments to negotiate settlements rather than risk ongoing litigation which could take at least a decade.

“We’re prepared to sit down and negotiate a settlement,” said Mike Restoule, Chair of the Robinson-Huron Treaty Litigation Fund.

Restoule says the group of twenty-one First Nations in northeastern Ontario have written to Greg Rickford, Ontaro’s Minister of Energy, Mines, Northern Development and Indigenous Affairs, and federal Crown-Indigenous Relations minister Dr. Carolyn Bennett requesting negotiations to address treaty issues which date back to 1850. 

“It’s been a long journey since this grievance was brought forward and it would be really nice if the governments of the day would agree to sit down and discuss the settlement with us,” he said.

A spokesperson for Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett says the ministry is reviewing the decision, but are open to “discussions” with First Nations who were part of the legal challenge. (CBC)

Governments reviewing decision; Ottawa open to ‘discussions’

In a statement the Government of Ontario said it’s reviewing the recent decision. 

Ottawa, meanwhile acknowledges “honouring the treaty relationship […] is key to advancing lasting reconciliation.”

A spokesperson for Bennett said the department is reviewing Friday’s decision, but “Government of Canada remains open to discussions with the interested parties.”

That’s something David Nahwegahbow— one of the lawyers representing the Indigenous plaintiffs—  believes is the best path forward. 

“As Justice Hennessy outlined [in her ruling], it’s harder to achieve reconciliation and an adversarial process which is why negotiations are the preferred venue for coming to terms with this decision and implementing this decision,” Nahwegahbow said. 

Batchewana Chief Mike Sayers said sitting in negotiation is “true reconciliation.”

“Sitting at a meaningful table that’s really founded on culture and openness and understanding of each other’s way of life and knowing that we need to reconcile this,” Sayers said. “We don’t want to have the future generations having these confrontational discussions way down the road when we have an opportunity right now based on this decision to get as much mileage as we can out of it.”

David Nahwegahbow, one of the lawyers for the First Nations part of the Robinson-Huron Treaty says he hopes the federal and provincial governments will opt for negotiations rather than continued litigation. (Kari Vierimaa/CBC)

Battle over treaty rights has wider implications: lawyer

The recent victory for indigenous leaders of the Robinson-Huron Treaty territory also impacts a separate claim by two First Nations in the Robinson-Superior Treaty territory.

The Robinson-Superior claim was launched several years before the Robinson-Huron treaty claim was initiated.

The court has decided to try them both together, while compensation or declarations from each case will remain separate.

Their claim—  launched years before the Robinson-Huron Treaty claim— deals with similar language around the escalator clause which exists in both treaties.

“The decision, while it talks about the principles that underlay the treaty relationship and which ought to be the basis on which the augmentation occurs, doesn’t say what the amount is and it recommends that the parties negotiate that amount,” Nahwegahbow said.

“It does talk about duties on the Crown which will assist us in coming to a determination of that amount.”

Nahwegahbow said while the specific aspects of the decision related to the treaty language can only be applied to the Robinson-Huron and Robinson-Superior treaties, he adds the aspects that contributed to the decision will be significant for future cases. 

“The court in this case said when determining the Indigenous perspective it’s important to look at Indigenous laws, important to look at the long history of the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous nations which was one of the allies rather than subjects and that’s a very important component in this case,” he said.


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Ottawa sets monthly record for total COVID-19 cases with 99 new cases on Friday





Sixteen days into October, Ottawa has already set the record for most cases of COVID-19 in a single month.

Ottawa Public Health reported 99 new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa today, and three more deaths linked to novel coronavirus.

Ontario’s Ministry of Health had reported 108 new cases of COVID-19, but there is sometimes a lag in COVID-19 case reporting between Ontario and Ottawa Public Health. On Wednesday, Ontario reported 39 new cases in Ottawa, while Ottawa Public Health reported 45 new cases.

There have been 1,511 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa in October, surpassing the September record of 1,413 new cases.

Since the first case of COVID-19 on March 11, there have been 5,908 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, including 301 deaths.

Across Ontario, there are 712 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. Health Minister Christine Elliott reported 213 new cases in Toronto, 135 in Peel Region and 62 in York Region.


One more person was admitted to an Ottawa hospital with COVID-19 related illnesses on Friday.

Ottawa Public Health reports 47 people are currently in hospital with COVID-19, including eight in the intensive care unit.


The number of active cases of COVID-19 increased on Friday.

There are 792 active cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, up from 777 active cases on Thursday.

A total of 4,806 people have recovered after testing positive for COVID-19.

The number of active cases is the number of total laboratory-confirmed cases minus the numbers of resolved cases and deaths. A case is considered resolved 14 days after known symptom onset or positive test result.

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Ottawa mayor rejects possible return of Ottawa-Gatineau border checkpoints, ‘I really don’t think they work’





Mayor Jim Watson does not want to see police checkpoints return to the five interprovincial crossings between Ottawa and Gatineau, saying “I really don’t think they work.”

Earlier this week, Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin told the Ottawa Citizen that police checkpoints could return to the Ottawa-Gatineau border at “any time,” with the final decision in the hands of the Quebec Government. Earlier this month, Dr. Brigitte Pinard of the Centre Integre de sante et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais said border checkpoints were “possible,” adding “right now, our message is to limit large gatherings.”

When asked by CTV Morning Live host Leslie Roberts about the possibility of police checkpoints returning to the Ontario-Quebec border, Watson said he did not think they worked back in the spring.

“There were so many gaps when the police were not there, and people just figured out I’ll go at an earlier time or a later time. We saw police officers sticking their heads in the car with no masks, so that was not healthy for those individuals,” said Watson Friday morning.

“It’s a costly expense when our police are stretched already to the limit trying to do the work, to have them set up at five different bridge points potentially 24 hours a day would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars every month and I think the money is better spent.”

On April 1, Gatineau Police and the Surete du Quebec set up checkpoints along the Ottawa-Gatineau border to limit non-essential trips into Gatineau. Gatineau Police estimated the random police checkpoints between April 1 and May 17 cost the service more than $400,000.

Mayor Watson tells CTV Morning Live that the Quebec Government’s decision to move Gatineau into the “red zone” two days after Ontario moved Ottawa to a modified Stage 2 should help.

“We are a close relationship and when things happen in Gatineau there’s often a trickle effect over here and I think the fact that we’re both in the red zone, and Quebec of course is the worst hit province, at least levels the playing field for our restaurants and bars,” said Watson.

“I think in the past what had happened was our restaurants and bars would close and then the ones in Gatineau would stay open, and then people from Ottawa would go over there irresponsibly, in my opinion, and then come back potentially with the virus and spread it here.”

While border checkpoints would limit the non-essential travel across the Ottawa-Gatineau border, Watson says that’s not the way to beat COVID-19.

“The message is very clear, stick to your household. This is not the time to have an AirBNB party or a keg party in your backyard, or have 20 people or 30 people in for an engagement party. I know a lot of these get-togethers are important socially for people and emotionally, but we have to ask people to be reasonable and responsible, and this is not the year to do those kinds of things.”

Roberts asked the mayor if he would have a conversation about border checkpoints with Gatineau’s mayor.

“I had it the first go-around, but at the end of the day I also respect their jurisdiction and their autonomy. It is the province that would have to impose that, not the municipality,” said Watson.

“From our perspective, we don’t think it’s an effective use of resources. We want to continue to get the message across that we can win this battle against COVID-19 if we socially distance, we wear a mask, we actually follow the simple rules that are put forward.”

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Ottawa woman breaks 14-day quarantine rule to work at long-term care home: police





OTTAWA — A 53-year-old Ottawa woman is facing charges under the federal Quarantine Act after Ottawa police say she failed to self-isolate for 14 days after travelling abroad and returned to work at a long-term care home.

Ottawa Police say information was received indicating that an Ottawa woman had travelled abroad. She returned to Canada on Sept. 26, so she was required under federal law to quarantine for 14 days, until Oct. 9

“The woman decided not to respect this order and went to work on Sept. 30 at a long-term health facility in Ottawa,” police said in a news release. “When management was apprised of the situation, she was immediately sent home. The facility immediately activated mitigating self-isolation and cleaning protocols and informed all persons that had been in contact with the subject.”

Police say none of the residents of the long-term care facility have tested positive for COVID-19 as a result of the woman attending work.

Ottawa police say this is the first person they have charged under the Quarantine Act during the pandemic.

The woman is charged with failing to comply with entry condition under section 58 of the Quarantine Act and cause risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm under section 67 of the Quarantine Act.

The maximum penalty for causing risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm is a $1 million fine and three years in prison. For failing to self-isolate for 14 days, she faces a $750,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Police did not release the name of the woman, nor where she worked. The woman is due in court on Nov. 24.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson’s office issued a statement following the announcement of the charges.

“Mayor Watson was disturbed to learn about the alleged carelessness of the individual in question. This type of reckless behaviour could have harmed their colleagues, and more importantly, the residents of the long term care home. We must all do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

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