From Janice Switlo
This is critical information for Anishinaabe nationals to know in considering the state of the ANGA (Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement) – do you know who the negotiator is?
Is the intention behind the ANGA whether conscious or not, really about the people’s interests? OR, is it about clearing off the underlying title of the land for the benefit of mines and resource development interests?
(See for example: ” ‘Despite over a decade of talk and more than $20 million invested, real progress on the Ring of Fire has been met with delay after delay,’ Rickford said in a statement. ‘That’s why Ontario is taking a new, pragmatic approach to unlocking the Ring of Fire’s potential, one that includes working directly with willing First Nation partners.’ The region … holds one of the world’s richest deposits of chromite … as well as nickel, copper and platinum, valued at anywhere from $30 billion to $60 billion.” Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press, “Ontario government rips up Ring of Fire agreement with First Nations to pursue individual deals.” posted August 27, 2019 1:16 pm)
There was a panel held on January 28 by the Union of Ontario Indians promoting its ANGA (Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement).
It was revealed there that R. Martin Bayer, a lawyer at the Ontario law firm Weaver Simmons LLP, is the negotiator.
The law firm still lists him as an active lawyer, so it can be presumed that he has been billing legal fee rates for his services on the ANGA. (Lawyers in general typically charge hundreds of dollars per billable hour where a minimal .2 hour is recorded for everything done on a file, even if it’s only that a thought turns to the client, say, while in the bathroom.)
But that’s minor in the scheme of things – read on.
Bayer is a member of the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association and of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC). “The PDAC is one of the world’s most respected and successful mineral industry associations. With more than 7,500 members, it is committed to furthering and supporting the mineral exploration and development industry and the people and companies working in it.”
Bayer is also a Laurentian University Goodman School of Mines Advisory Committee member.
Also according to the law firm, Bayer took this course in 2015: Course Detail: CERTABLAW – The Osgoode Certificate in Foundations in Aboriginal Law (this course no longer has sessions scheduled) Note, that was a day or few days course and not a term like at law school. For example, on March 3, 2020 to March 7, 2020, Osgoode Professional Development Centre offers a certificate session, Course Detail: CERTIDLAW – The Osgoode Certificate in Fundamentals of Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Law.
Bayer also took this 4-day course in 2014: Course Detail: CERTNEG – The Osgoode Certificate in Negotiation, next offered November 23, 2020 to November 27, 2020, Osgoode Professional Development Centre.
In 2012, the firm says, Bayer took the course, The Osgoode Certificate in Mining Law.
“Weaver, Simmons LLP is the largest law firm in Northern Ontario. For over 85 years we have proudly served northern interests … At Weaver, Simmons LLP, over 30 full-time lawyers practice in the areas of … corporate, commercial, real estate, aboriginal law, mining and natural resources, …”
This is a very politically well connected law firm, as the King’s Counsel and Queen’s Counsel designations show:
“Since 1929, Weaver, Simmons LLP has been supporting the North. Founded in 1929, the firm was originally named McKessock, Wilkins and Facer. In 1946, Cecil Facer continued the office with a new partner, William Shea. Facer was awarded King’s Counsel in 1945 … One of the first female lawyers and believed to be the first female partner, was Mary Patricia Weaver. Ms. Weaver came to Sudbury in the 1950s … . She … joined Facer Shea as an associate in 1962. Ms. Weaver practiced in corporate and real estate law and was awarded the honourary title of Queen’s Counsel.”
In the law firm’s Mining and Natural Resources law practice, R. Martin Bayer is listed with Queen’s Counsel (appointed in 1982) James C. Simmons, Q.C., ASM.
Simmons is a Director of Mirarco Mining Innovation, which holds that “We are the innovative research partner of choice for mining and related industries.”
Where do the loyalties actually lie? Is it any wonder the ANGA ended up structured as it is? (See YouTube channel Switlo: Sheds the Light episode “The ANGA Special” and the episodes that follow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlYSXX4xzDQ
Mines, other resources industries, I don’t think I need to spell it out how those corporate interests are at odds with the interests of Indigenous nationals. This doesn’t mean no deals can be done but consider the significant difference between having to deal with an Indigenous nation carrying full economic sovereignty and continuing to own the land and resources (subject only to any permissions of use granted to the Crown by treaty) and only needing to “consult and accommodate” a domestic ethnic minority “group” under sec 35 doctrine. BIG difference in terms of the cost of doing business, if allowed to.
And remember, aboriginal law is domestic Canadian law – hence the title of that course above mentioned that is offered in March.
People might want to ask R. Martin Bayer some questions about this? Here is his publicly available email: firstname.lastname@example.org