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APTN Reports on Omnibus Bill...

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Conservative proposed omnibus Indian Act changes would allow bands to lease out reserve lands without majority community support

NATIONAL NEWS | 21. NOV, 2012 BY APTN NATIONAL NEWS

APTN National News

OTTAWA–First Nation band councils would no longer need majority community support to lease out parcels of reserve land under proposed changes to the Indian Act contained in the Harper government’s omnibus budget bill.

The proposed changes are raising concern among some prairie First Nations who say the Harper government is unilaterally changing the laws impacting reserve lands in defiance of the treaties and without any consultation.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan, however, says the changes will help First Nations move at “the speed of business.”

“It has nothing to do with selling off, surrendering lands. It has everything to do with allowing First Nations a much quicker and simpler process to designate lands they want to turn to economic development purposes, for leasing purposes. We have had multiple requests from across the country to expedite the process,” said Duncan.

Under the changes to the Indian Act, contained in the massive omnibus Bill C-45, the government proposed to alter a section of the Indian Act that allows First Nations to give up their rights to reserve lands which is known as “surrendering.”...READ THE FULL STORY

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