Notes kept by the colonial officials who drew up the treaties at issue in the Marshall decision make it clear they took advantage of Mi'kmaq
illiteracy to omit from the written text several articles agreed to in oral negotiations.
In fact, the Supreme Court of Canada did not give to the Mi'kmaq
people an unlimited right to fish.
Each Mi'kmaq band could have produced plans for a limited fishery, and DFO could have reviewed the plans' impact on conservation.
But DFO was terrified of a backlash among white fishermen if Mi'kmaq were allowed to fish on a different schedule than whites.
Christmas said the company promised me cruets to return to continue the discussions if the chiefs would give their consent and allow the permits to be issued, but the chiefs responded by saying they couldn't agree to just trust them, given the history of the Mi'kmaq people in dealing with outsiders.
The Mi'kmaq had no input into the environmental decisions.
I was surprised because there were what I thought were ongoing discussions with the Mi'kmaq at that point and those hadn't concluded.
Coulter said the government and the company should have approached the Mi'kmaq chiefs earlier but he suggested the chiefs also made mistakes.
But such regulation could only be imposed after consultation with the Mi'kmaqs both as to their content and the means of arriving at them.
John Risley, the multimillionaire lobster baron whose company, Clearwater Seafoods, holds a virtual monopoly on off-shore lobster licenses, went through the witless exercise of guessing that a moderate livelihood might mean $30,000, multiplying this figure by 12,000 (a number equivalent to every status Mi'kmaq man, woman and child in Atlantic Canada), and concluding that a third of a billion dollars could be diverted from the lobster industry to Mi'kmaqs.
In fact, small numbers of Mi'kmaqs had been fishing lobster for years, ever since the 1990 Sparrow decision authorized a limited food fishery, and under a federal program that bought commercial licenses from retiring fishermen and turned them over to Native bands.
At its ugly peak in early November, a mob of thugs surged through the streets of Yarmouth looking for Mi'kmaqs to beat up.
The government of Nova Scotia is committed to working in partnership with the Mi'kmaq Nation and the federal government in advancing the self government process," said Nova Scotia Premier John Savage.
Other initiatives resulting from the forum include the Mi'kmaq young offenders project, Mi'kmaq human rights officers program, the Shubenacadie Native diversion program, a conservation officers program, and the building of a Native learning centre.
The new forum recognizes the 13 chiefs as the officials with the Mi'kmaq union and the confederacy at a second level.