MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

BETWEEN

Her Majesty The Queen in Right OF CANADA AS REPRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OF THE ENVIRONMENT FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE PARKS CANADA AGENCY

(“CANADA”)

AND

THE MI’KMAWEY KAPMNT TA’N NIKANA’TU’TIJ EPEKWITNEWAQ MI’KMAW-SAQMAQ (THE MI’KMAW NATION GOVERNMENT OF PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND AS REPRESENTED BY THE PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND CHIEFS)

(“MI’KMAQ EPEKWITNEWAQ” (THE MI’KMAW NATION IN EPEKWITK)

COLLECTIVELY REFERRED TO IN THIS MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING AS THE “PARTIES”

RESPECTING

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A NATIONAL PARK RESERVE IN

Pituamkek

(HOG ISLAND-SANDHILLS REGION OF PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND)


PREAMBLE

  1. WHEREAS Pituamkek (“at the long sand dunes”) has helped sustain the Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq (the Prince Edward Island Mi’kmaq) for thousands of years and will continue to do so;
  2. WHEREAS the Peace and Friendship Treaties of 1725, 1749, 1752, 1760/61 and 1779, signed by the Crown and the Mi’kmaq are solemn and binding agreements which set out ongoing promises, and mutual obligations and benefits for the Mi’kmaq and the Crown, but which do not cede Mi’kmaq Aboriginal title to the land;
  3. WHEREAS Section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982 recognizes and affirms “the existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada”
  4. WHEREAS the Parties fully support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and commit to implement the Declaration in the context of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, S.C. 2021 c. 14 ;
  5. WHEREAS the Parties are committed to true and lasting reconciliation and a renewed government to government relationship that recognizes the ongoing presence and inherent rights of the Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq, of which the member communities include the Lennox Island First Nation and the Abegweit First Nation;
  6. WHEREAS the Parties jointly announced in 2019 the launch of a tri-partite process to determine the terms and conditions to establish, develop and operate a proposed national park reserve in treating the area with the highest degree of respect and protecting and managing it for present and future generations of Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq, Prince Edward Islanders and all Canadians;
  7. WHEREAS after reviewing the results of a series of studies and community and stakeholder consultations, the government of Canada and the Mi’kmaq Epekwitnewaq Kapmntemuow (the Mi’kmaq Nation Government of Prince Edward Island) have concluded that the proposed national park reserve is feasible and have agreed to undertake the necessary work to protect the Pituamkek the area under the Canada National Parks Act;
  8. WHEREAS the establishment of a proposed national park reserve in Pituamkek will result in contributing to Canada’s international and domestic commitments and serve as a model as to how Crown and Indigenous governments can collaborate;
  9. WHEREAS the protection of species and ecosystems of cultural significance and endangered species and endangered habitats is a common goal of the Parties to ensure the living connection between land and people, between water and land, and between culture and ecology remains intact for present and future generations and acknowledges the need for broader management of cultural and ecological values across Epekwitk (Prince Edward Island) as the Parties work towards the common goal of protecting Pituamkek; and
  10. WHEREAS the Mi’kmaq Epekwitknewaq Kapmntemuow have designated Pituamkek as a Mi’kmaq Heritage Landscape and an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area.

    NOW THEREFORE the Government of Canada and the Mi’kmaq Epekwitnewaq Kapmntemuow agree as follows:

ESTABLISHMENT OF A NATIONAL PARK RESERVE

  1. The Parties agree that it is feasible to continue to work together towards the establishment of a national park reserve in the Pituamkek region of Prince Edward Island by negotiating the necessary agreement to establish a national park reserve under the Canada National Parks Act, referred to hereafter as the “establishment agreement”
  2. The working boundary for the proposed national park reserve is depicted in Annex 1.
  3. In negotiating the protection of the Pituamkek region, the Parties will be mindful that all social and ecological management is consistent with Netukulimk, which has its origin in inherent right and is the long held Mi’kmaq philosophy that the use of the natural bounty provided by the Creator is for self support and well-being of the individual and the community by achieving adequate standards of community nutrition and economic and spiritual well-being, without jeopardizing the integrity, diversity or productivity of the natural bounty.
  4. The establishment, development, management and operation of a national park reserve in Pituamkek will respect Aboriginal and treaty rights consistent with Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  5. The Parties agree to support a consensus approach to decision making in the negotiation and implementation of the national park reserve establishment agreement, and the ability for the Parties to make decisions together as to how Pituamkek will be used and what economic benefits will be derived in the context of conservation, use and management. These concepts will be protected as described in the establishment agreement.

PROPOSED NATIONAL PARK RESERVE AREA BOUNDARY

  1. The boundary of the proposed national park reserve in Pituamkek is intended to be substantially along the lines of the map in Annex 1, and encompass an area of approximately 3000 hectares (30km2).

    The Parties agree that the final boundary of the proposed national park reserve will be supported and informed by ongoing discussions regarding existing and proposed protected areas in Pituamkek, including federal, provincial, and Mi’kmaq Epekwitnewaq Kapmntemuow protection initiatives which could lead to the achievement of larger conservation goals and support ecosystem connectivity. The Parties agree that best efforts should be made to work with adjacent land owners to support and protect cultural and ecological integrity within the Pituamkek area.
  2. In negotiating the establishment agreement, the initial focus will be on transferring the administration and control of Crown lands as the first phase of the proposed national park reserve, supplemented by the possible purchase of private lands within the Pituamkek area by Canada at fair market value on a willing seller – willing buyer basis.
  3. As directed by Parliament under the Canada National Parks Act, Canada cannot and will not expropriate private property in order to establish or expand a national park or national park reserve. Private lands will only be acquired for the proposed national park reserve purposes on a willing seller – willing buyer basis.
  4. All public utility corridors and associated statutory rights of way will remain under the administrative authority of that specific utility/statutory right of way.
  5. Residents will not have to pay a fee to access their homes/private property or to receive guests.
  6. The establishment of the proposed national park reserve will not change the jurisdiction of Indigenous, local, provincial or federal governments in relation to the lands adjacent to it.

NEGOTIATION OF ESTABLISHMENT AGREEMENT

  1. Canada and the Mi’kmaq Epekwitnewaq Kapmntemuow, will proceed to negotiate a formal national park reserve establishment agreement that will define the terms and conditions for the establishment, development, management and operation of a national park reserve.
  2. Prior to initiating negotiations towards a national park reserve establishment agreement, the Parties will organize a joint workshop for their representatives for the purpose of reviewing and understanding the relevant laws and governance mechanisms that the Parties must be mindful of in negotiating an establishment agreement.
  3. Negotiation of an establishment agreement will allow the Parties to recommend to their respective decision- making bodies the protection of the lands and waters currently under the administration and control of Canada or the Government of Prince Edward Island which will be described within the proposed boundary under the Canada National Parks Act and the Parties will be mindful of inherent right and Netukulimk.
  4. For greater clarity, the authority to enter into the national park establishment agreement will require additional approvals from each of the Parties.
  5. Without an establishment agreement reached between the Parties under clause 15, the federal Minister of the Environment and the Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaw-Saqmaq (the Prince Edward Island Mi’kmaq Chiefs) will not recommend establishment of a national park reserve.
  6. The proposed national park reserve establishment agreement will include provisions related to:
    1. finalization of the boundary for the proposed national park reserve in the Pituamkek region;
    2. timing and process for the transfer of administration and control of provincial protected areas and Crown lands to Canada for the proposed national park reserve;
    3. management of said lands between the coming into effect of the establishment agreement and the date the lands are listed under Schedule 2 of the Canada National Parks Act;
    4. federal investment in the establishment, development, management and operation of the national park reserve; and
    5. any other items to which the Parties agree.
  7. The proposed national park reserve establishment agreement will also include provisions specific to Mi’kmaq inherent right, Netukulimk, and Mi’kmaq culture and history related to:
    1. co-operative management regime that defines how the Parties will work together to establish, develop and manage a national park reserve, management planning and the development of a system that includes traditional/cultural management and western methodologies;
    2. affirming the continuation of fishing, hunting, water access and management, gathering, foods and medicines, and associated management practises, and provisions for the mitigation of any impacts to Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq for traditional use and harvesting within the proposed national park reserve.
    3. protection and management of spiritual or culturally significant sites and special management areas (e.g. hunting areas, etc.) and ongoing use and access to such areas including campsites, pictograph sites, archaeological sites, and ceremonial sites;
    4. the use of Mi’kmawey Kjijitaqn (traditional ecological knowledge) in protection, management and harvest practises including fire and water management;
    5. engagement of Mi’kmawey Kjijitaqn (traditional ecological knowledge) of elders and youth, and the promotion and use of Mi’kmaq language and cultural knowledge and resource management within all aspects of national park reserve implementation;
    6. training opportunities to assist Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq community members to take advantage of employment opportunities in the national park reserve;
    7. economic and employment opportunities for the Epekwitnewaq Mi'kmaq in the national park reserve and measures which will be adopted to assist the Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq to take advantage of such opportunities in the national park reserve; and
    8. emergency measures and mitigation (e.g. fire, floods, invasive species issues, etc.).
  8. Canada will fund any reasonable additional financial requirements of the Mi’kmaq Epekwitnewaq Kapmntemuow that may be required to enable the Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq to participate effectively in negotiation of the establishment agreement, participate in community engagement and consultation, and participate in public consultation.
  9. The proposed national park reserve establishment agreement may also include provisions specific to third party interests related to terms and conditions of existing leases, licenses, permits, a local advisory committee to provide advice on park issues as they pertain to local community matters, and other authorizations as required.

COMMUNICATIONS SECTION

  1. Upon signing, this Memorandum of Understanding will be considered a public document and will be made available to the public.
  2. The Parties commit to developing a communications protocol covering all communications regarding the negotiation and establishment of a proposed national park reserve.
  3. The Parties agree to develop and distribute communications material on an on-going basis in order to convey updates on the establishment process of the proposed national park reserve.

EFFECT OF MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

  1. This Memorandum of Understanding is an expression of the mutual intentions of the Parties and is not legally binding on them or enforceable against them.
  2. This Memorandum of Understanding is not intended to be, and is not a treaty or land claim agreement within the meaning of sections 25 and 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  3. This Memorandum of Understanding is an expression of the mutual intentions and goodwill of the Parties and is not intended to create, affect or deny any rights, claims, positions or obligations of any of the Parties.
  4. In recognition and respect for the different languages spoken by the Parties to the Memorandum of Understanding the Parties have defined the Mi’kmaq terms in the Memorandum of Understanding, with the English word or phrase in parenthesis immediately after the Mi’kmaq term.
  5. This Memorandum of Understanding will come into effect when signed by the Parties and will remain in effect until a proposed national park reserve establishment agreement is negotiated or a Party withdraws from the Memorandum of Understanding.
  6. This Memorandum of Understanding can only be amended with the prior written consent of both Parties.
  7. A Party may withdraw from the Memorandum of Understanding upon providing 60 days written notice to the other Parties.

This Memorandum of Understanding was signed this 19th day of January, 2022 by:

For the GOVERNMENT OF CANADA

The Honourable Steven Guibeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

For the MI’KMAWEY KAPMNT TA’N NIKANA’TU’TIJ EPEKWITNEWAQ MI’KMAW-SAQMAQ

Chief Darlene Bernard

For the MI’KMAWEY KAPMNT TA’N NIKANA’TU’TIJ EPEKWITNEWAQ MI’KMAW-SAQMAQ

Chief Junior Gould

This MOU may be signed in any number of counterparts and such counterparts may be delivered by electronic mail, facsimile or other electronic means. Such counterparts, taken together, will constitute one and the same MOU.


ANNEX 1

Proposed national park reserve working boundary map
Proposed Pituamkek National Park Reserve working boundary map — Text version

This map shows the proposed working boundary of the proposed national park reserve in Pituamkek.

The study area begins to the east of Alberton, stretching from Oulete's Island in the west to the islands east of Lennox Island, slightly northwest of Malpeque Bay.

A dotted line indicates a broader area of Ecological and Cultural Interest, from which the working boundary was chosen.

Shaded areas on the map denote the land being considered as part of the national park reserve, identified as the Pituamkek Working Boundary.


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