Developer offers to give land back to First Nation where Oka Crisis happened
Land is a part of The Pines, a forested area important to the Mohawks of Kanesatake
A Quebec developer is offering to give back to the Mohawks of Kanesatake part of a forested area of land that was at the heart of the Oka Crisis.
Grégoire Gollin said he’s committed to transferring around 60 hectares of the forest known as The Pines in the spirit of reconciliation, through a federal ecological gifts program.
“As a citizen, I don’t have to wait for the government to do my contribution to reconciliation,” he said.
“My concrete gesture is to initiate giving back to the Kanesatake this piece of forest I own and they value a lot in their heart because it has been planted by their ancestors.”
In 1990, the municipality of Oka, Que., planned to expand a golf course in The Pines, sparking the 78-day standoff known as the Oka Crisis between the people of Kanesatake, the Sûréte du Québec and later the Canadian military. The area is a part of a 300-year-old land dispute over the seigneury of Lake of Two Mountains.
“At the heart of the Oka Crisis, it was not money, it was the land,” said Gollin.
“I have significant pieces of land adjacent to Kanesatake, so I decided to make my contribution.”
How ecological gifts work
Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program offers a tax benefit to landowners who donate land or a partial interest in land to a qualified recipient, via the Income Tax Act of Canada and the Quebec Taxation Act.
Scott Nurse, a policy analyst with the program, said it’s never been used to return land to a First Nation thus far. In order for the gift to be approved, the land has to be certified by the province as ecologically sensitive, the recipient has to be approved and the land has to be appraised for fair market value.
“Recipients of ecological gifts must maintain the ecological gift and conservation status or receive authorization from the Minister of Environment and Climate Change for changing the use of the property or disposing of the property,” said Nurse.
Gollin has owned a section of The Pines for a number of years. In 2017, his housing project Domaine des Collines d’Oka sparked protests by people in Kanesatake for its proximity to The Pines.
Mohawk activist Ellen Gabriel has long wanted a moratorium on all development within the area under dispute until the land claim is resolved. She said more land has been developed in the area in recent years than what they opposed in 1990.
“Let’s settle the land dispute that was promised during the negotiations in 1990, so people can get on with their lives and we don’t have to keep worrying,” said Gabriel.
“It’s the first stage. The ultimate goal is to live in peace.”Canadian conservatives, Canadian news, Canadian politics, Conservative Canadians, conservatives, Developer offers to give land back to First Nation where Oka Crisis happened, pipelines, right for Canada
Categorised in: Canadian News