05/08/2015 11:38 EDT | Updated 05/08/2016 05:59 EDT

Listuguj Mi'kmaq $64M Land Settlement Approved By Ottawa

The Federal government has approved the $64.5 million compensation package for people living in the Mi'kmaq community of Listuguj.

The money will provide compensation for past loss of use of five parcels of land around the community.

The land was taken for use outside the community, including for a highway and the entrance to the interprovincial bridge between Quebec and New Brunswick.

People in Listuguj held a referendum on the proposed settlement in December 2014. They voted to distribute the money evenly to everyone living in the community.

That means each resident will get a cheque for around $15,000. The band council will also receive $4 million to pay for legal expenses.

A unique deal

Senior negotiator Jeff Basque said the settlement is unique in Canada because, while it provides compensation for past issues, it does not settle any future claims on the parcels of land.

"If there's any dispute between us and them on exercise of our aboriginal or treaty rights, this agreement cannot resolve them. They will still have to go to court" he said, adding, "you know, we prefer negotiation."

No timeline was given for the distribution of cheques since officials have still not calculated exactly how many people in Listuguj are eligible to receive the compensation.


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