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January 18, 2023
SUDBURY — Canada and Ontario were in a tight corner: staring down a dispassionate, nonpartisan court set to tot up potentially astronomical sums they owed to the Robinson Huron communities for 149 years of underpayment of treaty annuities pegged to resource revenues in one of Canada’s richest mineral resource regions. On Jan. 16, the day the “accounting trial” was about to begin, Canada and Ontario agreed to sit in mediation with the Robinson Huron leadership, staving off what was likely to be a punishing reckoning from the court.
The 21 Robinson Huron communities have had success in the first two of three trials dedicated to examining the Robinson Huron communities’ claim that Canada and Ontario have failed to meet their obligations under the 1850 Robinson Huron Treaty. At issue in the now postponed third trial: how much money did Canada and Ontario short the communities every year since 1874? What government infrastructure and social service spending should be counted as legitimate offsets against those debts, again, year by year? How should resource revenues be divided going forward? And more, so much more.