The Framework Agreement commits Canada, PEI, and the Mi’kmaq to respectful and cooperative negotiations to deal with our outstanding Aboriginal and treaty rights claims. It sets out the guidelines for government-to-government-to-government negotiation processes.
The agreement lists the areas that could be the subject of negotiations, from land and water to law making authority, but it also allows for other areas that are important to the Mi’kmaq to be raised, and also for the longer-term objective of a larger more comprehensive agreement.
While the Supreme Court of Canada has clearly acknowledged our Rights in many decisions, they have not clearly defined the Rights or how the Rights can be implemented. This has resulted in more litigation. The purpose of the Framework Agreement process is to determine what these Rights mean for the Mi’kmaq today and how we can use them for the benefit of the Mi’kmaq, through respectful negotiations instead of litigation, which the Supreme Court of Canada has consistently encouraged.
The Framework Agreement recognizes the existence of Aboriginal and treaty rights that are protected under the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as court decisions such as Haida, Delgamuukw, and Marshall. The Agreement will seek to resolve and settle outstanding claims with respect to existing Mi’kmaq Rights and Treaties through negotiation. The historic treaties of the Mi’kmaq will not be re-negotiated.
While the structure and processes for technical Rights based work under the Agreement are just being developed, community input and direction will be the priority. All of the efforts under the Framework Agreement must be for the Mi’kmaq and by the Mi’kmaq.