BLOOD TRIBE TOPGAS SETTLEMENT
Update August 20, 2021
The Blood Tribe is finalizing the negotiations of the TOPGAS $17.6 million settlement agreement with the Government of Canada. In September of 2018 the Blood Tribe submitted a claim to Canada regarding the wrongful deduction of royalties arising from the sale of natural gas extraction that was from reserve lands.
From 1977 to 1994, as a part of TOPGAS, certain industry costs were wrongfully calculated as part of deductions to royalty payments owing to the Blood Tribe.
As of December 2020, and after three years of negotiating facts, evidence, and arguments presented, the Government of Canada has offered a settlement of $17.6 million to the Blood Tribe. The success and strength of the Blood Tribe’s negotiating team has secured a larger settlement than the initial offer of $2.4 million by the Government of Canada. This was a result of a breach of the Crown’s trust, fiduciary, and statutory obligations under the Indian Act, Indian Oil and Gas Act, Indian Oil and Gas Regulations, and the Blackfoot Treat (Treaty No.7) of 1877.
Both parties agreed to take the specific claims route in speeding up the settlement. Therefore, it was found that there is no requirement for the Blood Tribe to hold a referendum in accepting the settlement offer. The Blood Tribe Chief and Council will be the governing body to accept the offer and will affirm to the members that proper research and due diligence was carried out by the negotiating team.
A door-to-door information campaign was recently conducted both on-reserve and off-reserve to inform members about the TOPGAS settlement. A virtual community information session also took place on August 16th where viewers heard presentations from the negotiating team and were given the opportunity to ask questions about the agreement.
Blood Tribe Chief and Council have decided that $5.3 million to be used for a per-capita distribution; $5.85 million will go towards additional housing and $5.85 million will be utilized for long-term investment for present and future Blood Tribe members.
The settlement is in its’ final stages and is yet to be signed off by the Government of Canada. The Canadian Federal Election will cause a bit of delay in receiving the settlement monies.
The date for the per-capita distribution for the Blood Tribe members is yet to be determined. Once the Tribe receives the monies, details will be worked out by Chief and Council, as well as delegating the membership department and finance department to coordinate the per-capita distribution. The Blood Tribe will keep members updated as to the next steps of the settlement. The virtual information session can still be accessed on the KRI webpage at www.bloodtribe.org.