First Nation Suit: Canada's Parliament Is on Our Land

Aboriginal group says it never relinquished title
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2016 9:11 AM CST
Aborigines File Suit for Land Including Canada's Parliament
Everyone wants a piece of Parliament Hill in Ottawa.   (Getty Images)

Ottawa's Parliament, Supreme Court, and the National Library may soon have some new owners—or new old owners. The city's south bank where these three institutions lie is in the middle of a land ownership lawsuit filed Wednesday by a Quebec First Nation, CTV News reports. "The Algonquin Anishinabe Nation has never surrendered its title to the Kichi Sibi lands," the suit filed in Ontario Superior Court reads. "Kichi Sibi" means "great river" in the Algonquin language, and the complaint lists the real estate in contention as islands in the Ottawa River, as well as the sections of its south bank and LeBreton Flats, land slated for development to possibly include an NHL arena. The suit names the National Capital Commission, the attorney general of Canada, and Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General as defendants, per the CBC.

The backstory involves the Ontario Algonquins, who raised Quebec Algonquins' ire by signing an agreement in October with the Ontario and federal governments that would eventually sign over to the aborigines nearly 14,000 square miles of land, including the Ottawa Valley section with Parliament Hill. But the Quebec faction says it wasn't consulted on the $300-million-plus deal and that the Ontario Algonquins "[sold] their soul to the devil for a handful of peanuts." The suit notes that even though various land agreements have been forged over the years, they always hinged on the band keeping possession of its land—an agreement it claims Canada has flouted and profited from over the years. "We're not against development but we want to be an equal partner. We have to be benefactors of that land," says Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Chief Jean-Guy Whiteduck, per the Ottawa Citizen. (Read more First Nations stories.)

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