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Canada Won't Honour Crown Patent Title of Private Landowner in Sauble Beach, Ontario.

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Sauble Beach, Ontario, Native Land Claim: Crowd Inn Position 

Native issues can be a sensitive area of discussion and in no way do we place blame or hold any animosity toward the Saugeen First Nation Band. By signing this petition you are not showing any disrespect toward the Aboriginal people of Canada and that is not something that I would sanction. Nor are you taking sides in the Sauble Beach land claim. My reason for this petition is to bring awareness to the Government of Canada and Ontario that we need legal reform to how third parties with legal titles to their properties are handled when named in Native land claims.  

Let me share a small portion of my story.

As you may know the Crowd Inn (a family owned take-out restaurant est. 1948) is named in the Sauble Beach Native Land Claim. I would like for you, the people of Canada and our valued friends and customers to know our position.  We believe that we are the rightful owners of this property which extends to the water’s edge and so do the Saugeen First Nation Band. That is fair.

What is not fair is:

·         Our property was purchased and is described by way of a Crown grant issued in 1896 and is registered through the Ontario Land Registry system. These are legal means for possession of property and we are in no way adversely possessing land which has not been legally obtained through the legal system of Canada and Ontario. Neither Canada or Ontario accept responsibility for the initial sale of our land which is now in contention. Throughout the Land Claim negotiations, each has indicated, if blame is to be appointed, that the other should be responsible.

·         Canada has taken the side of the Saugeen band and is therefore defending their position and has abandoned any responsibility it has to honor our Crown Patent.  Canada has unlimited resources for research and legal teams, we don’t.

.         Conflict of interest: I recently was made aware that Canada’s lawyers receive their instructions from the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs. The role of this ministry is to uphold the concerns and interests of the Aboriginal people of Canada. Well, Canada is also named as a defendant in this lawsuit. The role of the Canadian government is to be responsible for the interests of all Canadians. How can Canada properly defend the interests of all Canadians in this case if the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs is only researching evidence for the interests of the Aboriginal people?

·         Up until the time that the claim was initiated by Canada, we have been given assurances time and again through government officials that our title is secure; most notably Jean Chretien in 1965, then a young Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

·         According to The Specific Claims Policy and Process Guide, published by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, on page seven, under the heading of Compensation, point number eight states: “In any settlement of specific native claims the government will take third party interests into account. As a general rule, the government will not accept any settlement which will lead to third parties being dispossessed.” This is Canada’s own policy and document.

·         Throughout the negotiations, we have understood that we would give up possession of our property and business should the land be awarded to the Saugeen Band, however, we also maintain that fair compensation be a required factor. Compensation would cover loss of land, loss of business, loss of income, legal fees and other expenses such as experts. During the 2006 mediation discussion, Canada’s idea of reasonable compensation was that we could run our business only; without ownership of that business or the land on which it stands, nor would we have the ability to sell it. We didn't like the sound of that retirement plan.

·         We have been employing lawyers and experts for 20 years to defend our title. Our expenses have been most significant since 2006. Since then, $5000.00 a year is our annual average cost to support our cause. It has been speculated that this case will not be in the courts for three more years and most likely another three until resolution. In all, this will take up a minimum of 29 years of our lives since we starting consulting with a lawyer in 1992.

·         If the Saugeen band is successful in court, we could realistically owe the band compensation for damages plus court costs, leaving us virtually penniless. Oh, Canada!

We are not posting this to sensationalize. We believe that you should be aware that if the government does not honor our Crown Patent, all legal title to properties in Canada could be worthless if caught up in a Native claim; a sobering thought.

Native claims are widespread throughout Canada and you may not even know that you are part of the discussion.

David Dobson
Crowd Inn, Sauble Beach
Owner/Operator.



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