Updates

Without Prejudice:

June 9, 2022

Dear Friends & Supporters,

We trust you are all keeping well and like us taking a rest from fundraising efforts year to date and more especially the April initiative. What we have accomplished together has been nothing short of a miracle. It was because of your support we were able to reach our goal of $125,000 for trial and we cannot thank you enough.

Since 2017, there have been a total of 1045 people who have made donations to our cause. Some have donated over and over on a regular basis and we have noticed that about 250 new people have joined our group since January 2022 with April taking first place!!! In fundraising circles, and on a percentage basis, this has been an amazing accomplishment.

Due to Covid delays causing backups in the St. John’s NL Supreme Court, our case had to be rescheduled from June 2022 to three weeks commencing January 16th, 2023. While this has been disappointing, we have to believe everything happens for a reason and we are hopeful that January will prove to be our best choice.

In the meantime, we have one more item to take care of before trial and we would like to get it done sooner rather than later … one of these reasons being so we don’t stress about money too close to Christmas and the trial itself. That item is raising the extra $17,000 for the “litigant protection fund” we talked about in our last communication to you. The fund is actually for $65,000. Four very generous donors have already stepped forward and deposited $43,000 of that amount and we have a commitment of another possible $5000, which would total $48,000. We are rounding the $17,000 that is still needed to $20,000. This $65,000 will only be required and used in the unlikely event that we lose our case AND the Justice levies court costs against our litigants. While we don’t see this happening, we have to prepare for it prior to going to trial. Without our litigants, we don’t have a case and we have to protect them from possible financial harm.

So, we are now open for new donations. We will take the assistance of Mitch Connolly again, as we did in April. What he did, worked really well, and it took some of the stress off by leaving us to look after receipts and other administrative functions, helping save us from burnout. Mitch worked on the basis of how many people could donate $100; however, that did not preclude anyone, who wished, to donate more or less than $100. We appreciate any and all amounts. We are rolling this out ahead of the weekend and will be following up with you as required.

Thank you once again. We hope you have a great summer and find joy in all you do.

With much gratitude,

Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

Friends of Qalipu Applicants Advocacy Association

*** To make a donation, click here …. www.friendsofqalipu.ca

*** Make cheques payable to our full name … Friends of Qalipu Applicants Advocacy Association

Without Prejudice:

May 2, 2022

Dear Friends & Supporters,

We know you have been patiently waiting for the past week to hear about what’s happening with our trial. First of all, we wish to let you know that roughly 90% of us voted to go for the scheduled date of June. The other 10% suggested we wait until January, or they wished to go with what we as administrators felt was the right thing to do.

Today we heard from our lawyer, Mr. Keith Morgan, and both he and our Case Management Judge, Justice Marshall, strongly recommended that we delay our trial until January 2023 because of impending delays in the Courts due to COVID-19.

Trial dates therefore have been moved from June 6, 2022 to January 16, 2023 for three weeks, at the same location, the Supreme Court of Newfoundland in St. John’s. Legal counsel for the FNI and the Crown (Canada) have agreed to this rescheduling of dates.

It is natural for all of us to be disappointed, however if we didn’t take January while it was available, our day in court could be even further down the timeline. Keep the faith, as the saying goes, everything happens for a reason.

Kind regards,

Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

 

Without Prejudice:

April 23, 2022

Dear Donors & Supporters,

A huge thank you to everyone who came together and supported the fundraising march to the court. We achieved our fundraising goal of $125,000 to cover the impending legal costs. This show of unity and generosity is momentous and something we all can be proud of.

We are sure, everyone is waiting to learn the next steps we are to follow and it is our intent, via this email, to keep everyone informed by providing you with the highlights.

TRIAL DATE(S):

Friday afternoon our lawyer advised us that the Case Management Judge informed him that the Newfoundland Supreme Court has incurred a backlog of cases, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and she has encouraged us to accept the next available court date of January 2023 (9 months).

We do still have the option to proceed with the Trial in June 2022, however, this road is not without financial risks to us. The Case Management Judge said, it is possible that our case could be cancelled, if the Court decides it cannot accommodate us, as we get closer to the date.

RISKS OF PROCEEDING TO TRIAL IN JUNE 2022:

1). We incur costs for subpoenas and other costs up to an estimated $30,000 that could be lost if the case does not proceed as a result of the Court’s decision to cancel due to backlogs. Unfortunately, we will not know how this plays out until we approach the set date. There is no way of predicting the outcome in advance.

If the Court cancels the case as we approach our June 2022 date, they will assign us a later Court date possibly in the Winter/Summer or beyond.

RISKS OF PROCEEDING TO TRIAL JANUARY 2023:

1). We may incur COVID-19 lock-downs and mandates cancelling our trial and pushing it further into the future.

2). Travel to Newfoundland during the winter months is hazardous, uncertain and expensive.

LITIGANT PROTECTION FUND:

In the event that we lose our court case, our lawyer, Mr. Morgan has advised that our litigants could face adverse Court costs up to $65,000. This cost is in addition to the $125,000 needed for Court. Many may not remember, but when we initially started this journey, we promised our litigants that they would be protected from any financial harm as a result of Court proceedings. To date we have kept this promise.

While laser focused on raising money for legal costs, a small number of large donors have stepped forward and generously committed $48,000 toward the $65,000 reserve fund required for litigant protection. With your support, we now need to continue fundraising to cover the remaining $17,000 that is required.

Mr. Morgan, our lawyer, has asked us to let him know, Monday, April 25, 2022, whether we wish to proceed forward with the June 2022 Court date or move the date to January 2023.

For those who communicate by email – we ask that you share your position with us before April 25, 2022, so that we can determine the direction we should take.

There may be many questions which we may not have answers to. We ourselves have contemplated the next steps however, at the present time these are the options available to us and we ask for your input.

Once again, we thank you all for your generosity and your trust.

Sincerely yours,

Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

Without Prejudice:

February 10, 2022

Dear friends & supporters of Friends of Qalipu Advocacy Association,

We are writing you today because you and your family or friends made an application to become members of the Qalipu First Nation Band

Since that time much work has been done in order to further our goal for acceptance of all people who qualified for membership under the Agreement in Principal (AIP) made in 2008.

In 2013 a Supplemental Agreement (SA) was signed by Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI), the precursor to Qalipu, which we believe substantially changed the terms of the Agreement in Principle (AIP).

We believe the SA was designed to eliminate as many applicants as possible from ever being accepted into the Qalipu First Nation Band because as the Feds said in a media announcement at the time, “it was unreasonable to expect that there would be so many of them”.

It did not matter that we could prove our Native Ancestry. Many people were disqualified because they lived outside the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and/or were deemed not to have provided evidence of connection to a FNI-recognized Mi’kmaq community (referred to as Group Acceptance); or did not belong to a previous FNI-recognized band (referred to as Self Identification, whereas under the AIP merely signing your application was self identification proof).

As a result, and despite appeals and protests, some 10,000 Qalipu members lost their status in 2018, another 4,000+ received acceptance letters but were left in limbo until they and tens of thousands of others who had applied were rejected when eventually reviewed under the terms of the Supplemental Agreement. 

In 2013, we (Helen, John and Pauline) embarked on a journey in order to help correct a wrong. In 2008 the FNI negotiated a deal with Canada on behalf of ALL people of native ancestry. The problem was that when Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949, the then premier, Joseph R. Smallwood, had negotiated the confederation deal based on his denial of the existence of any First Nations (Indians … his word not ours) in Newfoundland. Mr. Smallwood had to have known the difference, as he came from a town in Central Newfoundland and it was a well known fact that there were native people living in and around that area.

Since 2013, we have worked tirelessly in order to rectify this wrong. Our case has been before the Court since early 2018 and our Trial is scheduled to be heard in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland in June of this year. 

Though the wheels of Justice do turn slowly, they do turn. We have been actively pursuing justice for ALL and so far we have been well rewarded in hearings leading up to trial. However, we don’t need to tell you that litigation is very costly. Should we be successful, the outcome will affect the lives of many thousands.

We are now on the last leg of our journey.  Trial for our Court Case is scheduled for June 6th to 22nd, 2022.  While Canada and the FNI have thrown a few wrenches into the mix to force us to spend money, we have been successful and able to move forward, thanks to the generosity of our current donors. However, it is unfair to expect former donors to always contribute to the cause when there are tens of thousands who may benefit.

The estimated cost to complete our litigation and trial is $125,000 including HST.  To confirm our trial, we need to have the funds on hand by early May.

We know that $125,000 can be raised in a very short period with your commitment.

– So today we are asking those of you who have made application to the Qalipu First Nation Band, to please step forward and make a donation so that we can take this to what we hope will be the final recognition of our existence and our rights.

– We also ask you to please share this email with family and friends and encourage them to make a donation.

Through your donations we can achieve great things. Remember, this affects you, your children and your children’s children’s future.

Yours sincerely,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

To make a donation go to our website:  www.friendsofqalipu.ca
The UPDATES tab located from the menu at the top of the page has all our communications

Without Prejudice:

December 20, 2021

Dear Friends & Supporters,

We are happy to say that after much delay weaving our way through the tedious legal system, the Discovery Process (which at the last minute included assessing 59,000 CORRECTION: 57,000 additional electronic documents provided by the defendants) is almost complete with the exception of one person. (To find out what the discovery process is click here).

While there are no guarantees in life, with this case being no exception, we along with our lawyer feel we have a strong case to be tried in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador. The information obtained during our Discoveries has exceeded expectations and will be brought forward at Trial. On advise from our lawyer we are unable to communicate details of findings as this information would be exposing legal strategy.

BACKGROUND

In 2017 we retained Mr. Keith Morgan as our solicitor. The estimate provided to us at that time to bring this grievance to trial was $250,000. To date, we have amazingly raised $295,000! Of course, this was only an estimate and since that time, numerous obstacles have been put in our way, however, we have remained strong and we have withstood the test of time. More detailed information regarding our journey can be found on www.friendsofqalipu.ca under the UPDATES menu tab.

WHERE ARE WE & WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Some of the Trial monies collected so far have been used for Discoveries, and there is more work to be done preparing for Trial in June, including more documents the Government has undertaken to provide.

Net-net we could be looking at another $125,000 (including taxes) to cover everything. Is it worth it? In our opinion it is, not just so justice is served, but to send a strong message to those who played a role in this process … the Directors of the FNI, Qalipu Band Elected Chief and Council up to now, and the Government of Canada. If it can happen to us, other indigenous peoples of Canada may be next. Let us also not forget, this Agreement in Principle (AIP) was made to correct a wrong when Newfoundland and Labrador joined Confederation in 1949… that’s 70 years, at least 3 generations!

We have some 900 individuals or families who have donated to our legal action since inception. Let’s assume that $125,000 is still required, including taxes, and we could increase our base to 1,000 people/families, that would be an average of $125 each.

We acknowledge with gratitude that some of you have given more and some give less, each to your own means.

We had hoped that more of the 10,000+ who lost their status would contribute financially to our court case. While it seems we cannot rely on that to date, there is no harm in reaching out to those we know now, asking them to offer what they can and emphasizing that every dollar counts. You dear friends are our ambassadors on the ground!

As administrators of Friends of Qalipu Advocacy Association, we have offered all of our time as volunteers without pay and will continue to do so if you decide as a collective to move forward. Yes, a decision has to be made by the people, so only you can decide whether to continue as this will require your financial support. We will be sending an email to you all in the New Year with a link designed to get a consensus on where each of you stand; whether you wish to continue and whether you are willing to make a financial commitment.

Remember, while no guarantees can be made, we feel we have a strong case and legal argument, and we will continue to work for everyone if we have the mandate.  May 2022 be kinder to all of us and our families.

We wish all of you the best of health and a happy Christmas season!

Yours sincerely,

Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

Administrators

 

Without Prejudice:

November 9, 2021

Dear Friends & Supporters,

If you have been following us on Facebook you will know that $50,000 is our goal for the trial portion of our case scheduled in June. We still need to raise $10,000 for this which we hope to achieve by the end of December.

In our last update we shared that ‘Discovery of Witnesses’ was moved to early December from September due to a 59,000 CORRECTION: 57,000 document drop provided to our counsel by FNI legal counsel. It has taken time to sift through the documents and identify those that will be useful to both our discoveries and trial. We are near completion of the identification process and this will increase the cost of discoveries. While we have reserved monies for discoveries, we will now need more, and will firm up the cost for this in December after discoveries are completed.

Discovery and trial costs do not include taxes … and unfortunately, the government has to get its share!

Three weeks are reserved for trial in June, but a lot can happen between now and then and perhaps three weeks may not be required.

Thank you all for your contributions to date. We will keep you posted each step of the way, and in the meantime if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

Administrators

 

Without Prejudice:

September 14, 2021

Dear friends & supporters,

In preparing for discoveries set to commence for the week of September 20, our legal counsel has been provided with access to an additional 59,000 Correction: 57,000 previously undisclosed documents held within the offices of the FNI. We believe these documents will provide significant insight into how the Supplemental Agreement was negotiated and concluded for which those to be discovered will have to answer.

To allow for sufficient time to review and assess such a significant volume of documents, discoveries have been postponed to the week of December 6-10. Trial dates remain in place and will not be affected by the delay in the commencement of the discoveries.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

Administrators

 

Without Prejudice:

July 3, 2021:

Dear Friends & Supporters,

Re: Timely Updates

As we shared in our last update, the final steps in our Court Case are discoveries and trial.

We are writing today to let you know that because restrictions have been lifted on the COVID pandemic in Newfoundland, it is now possible to conduct some of our discoveries “in person” pending any further unforeseen circumstances. The parties have agreed for these to happen the week of September 20th to 27th, allowing those who need to, to have a second vaccine for safety purposes. In person discoveries are always preferable where possible, however all discoveries will be conducted during this time period regardless of whether it is “in person” or “virtual”.

Our fundraising campaign for Trial is going very well, with donations @ June 30th being $22,305; this is almost halfway toward our goal of $50,000. As you know Trial is set in St. John’s at the Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador during the 3-week period June 6 to 22, 2022.

We are very happy to say that we have had a number of new donors step forward to help with the campaign, and there are those of you who continue to donate periodically and monthly. We are deeply moved by your commitment to seek justice.

At this time we are asking others who made a donation in the past to consider making a second donation to ensure that we are on solid financial ground long before Trial dates.

With our gratitude,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


May 26, 2021:

Dear friends & supporters,

It is our pleasure to finally share the following news with you:

Discoveries: We have scheduled our discoveries for upcoming July 5-9 inclusive and they will be done virtually due to current and potential travel restrictions and isolation requirements.

Trial Dates: We are very pleased to share that the Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador, General Division, has advised that our case has been placed on the “spring session” fixed trial list and is scheduled for “in person” trial from June 6 – 24, 2022 inclusive in St. John’s, NL.
While we had all hoped it would be sooner, under the circumstances we are truly ecstatic to finally have this matter in the court’s calendar. Fingers are crossed that travel restrictions and isolation requirements will be behind us by then as we know many want to be there for the trial or a portion of it anyway.

What does this mean for our fundraising campaign? We have a little more time to attain our goal of $50,000 for the trial portion of our costs but it would sure be nice to get there sooner than later, so let’s aim for end of September or October. We will post an update on our progress at the beginning of each month. If it is practical for you to do so, please consider making a second donation, and if you have already, please accept our gratitude.

Your generous financial and moral support over this long haul is exemplary and while some things have slowed us down, we never once entertained giving up and we have all of you to thank for that.

Wela’lin!

Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

Please visit our website to make a donation:
www.friendsofqalipu.ca


April 20, 2021:

Dear Friends & Supporters,

First of all, we wish to thank each and everyone of you for your continued support and patience due to pandemic restrictions and the closing of the Courts.

A Case Management Meeting was held on April 16th. This was the one scheduled earlier but postponed because the courts in Newfoundland were closed.

Documents have been exchanged by all parties now and reviewed by respective counsel.

We have been presented with the choice of waiting until Covid is under control in order to proceed with discoveries in person OR rather than wait proceed with virtual discoveries. After discussion with our lawyer, Mr. Morgan, we have determined to move forward with virtual discoveries rather than delay any longer. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the discoveries are expected to be complete by end of summer if not sooner. Based upon the current court schedule we anticipate a fixed date trial no later than the winter 2022 however this is subject to the Court’s schedule.

We trust that you find this to be acceptable, and should you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us.

Thank you for your support and for your faith in the process.

Sincerely yours,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

To make a donation please click here and feel free to share it with others and promote support:
www.friendsofqalipu.ca


January 24, 2021:

Dear friends & supporters,

We trust that 2021 finds you and yours safe and in good health, and that this year is kinder to us all.

We begin by providing you with a fundraising estimate for trial. Although trial is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022, there is a possibility that the fourth quarter of 2021 becomes available and we want to be ready in advance and time will fly as we prepare for the final steps.

Our fundraising goal is $50,000 and we arrive at this number as follows:
15 days of trial (3 weeks) x 9 hour days (court & prep time) = 135 hours x $325 (lawyer’s hourly rate) = $43,875 + $5,704 (taxes) = $49,579

There are many ways to arrive at this goal. For example, 500 individuals/families times $100. Since we began, roughly 1,000 of you have made a contribution and in many cases multiple contributions. We invite others to step up now and help with the heavy lifting.

There is no set amount to give, we leave it to your discretion and means, as well as whether you wish to offer a single donation or break it up by month, etc. Let us set a timeframe of September to accomplish our goal, which is 8 months or roughly $6,000 per month. We have done this before and we can do it again!

We are truly humbled by your generosity to date, and yes there are many of you who retained your status and have supported our cause as well. Thank you all for your confidence in us. We will be here with you to bring this initiative to completion.

With sincere gratitude,

Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


December 2, 2020:

Dear friends & supporters,

If you had asked us in 2017 when we were looking for an independent legal opinion, and when we took it to the Newfoundland Supreme Court in February 2018, we could not have dreamed how long it would take to get to trial.  It has been both a learning experience and an education taking a lot of resolve and patience.

Although we are not going to trial tomorrow or next month, we are much closer to the end than we are to where we were 18 months ago. We can now move forward thanks to the guidance of Justice Marshall.

The meeting today was productive and this is what was decided:

  1. The delay has been largely due to waiting on ‘document production’ by Canada. They are expected to be completed by the end of February to coincide with production ordered for the Collins matter (aka Jerry Brake’s class action in federal court).  We understand that the FNI is expected to come forward with more documents as well (same timeline).
  2. Once documents are exchanged and examined, the next step will be to revisit  our prospective witness lists for Discoveries, which  are expected to be complete by the Summer.
  3. All parties agreed to have the matter set down for a 3-week trial (15 business days) on a “fixed date” basis which gives us more certainty on timing, barring any unforeseen circumstances. The earliest fixed date period available is Winter 2022 (14 months from now); the court is in the process of adding us to this list.  Should there be cancellations of other matters before the court, we could be heard sooner, maybe Fall 2021.

Nothing much will be happening until the end of February, after which there will be a flurry of activity Spring and Summer as we get ready for trial.

We have reserve monies from our last fundraising campaign, and are expecting a cheque for court costs owed to us ($7,000+) any day now.  We will need a lot more and will put a preliminary estimate together in early January for: (1) the Spring/Summer work, and (2) the Trial work.  In the meantime, there are many of you who make monthly donations and you are welcome to continue to do so.  Others of you give to set campaign periods. We have always made our campaign amount thanks to your generosity and resolve.

We are on our way, the rest is up to the people, so spread the word. In early 2021 we will be doing “THE BIG ASK”.  We need more people to support this initiative if we are to have a chance at succeeding.

Many people who have kept their status or lost their status have supported us; now is the time for those who have not contributed to help with the heavy lifting.  Do it for your ancestors, do it for future generations, and do it for justice and the good name of our people and province.

With much gratitude,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


September 21, 2020:

Good day dear friends,

Yesterday’s Case Management Meeting with Justice Marshall, the FNI and Federal Crown, and our Mr. Morgan was very productive from our perspective. As you know, this was our first Case Meeting since November 2018 at which time the FNI disputed our filing of documents they claimed were subject to solicitor/client privilege.  Eighteen months later (May 2020) and an appeal by the FNI the courts ruled in our favour. Now we carry on where we left off in November 2018.

Here are the highlights of yesterday’s meeting:

  • FNI counsel is to provide answers to our Interrogatories no later than September 30th. Interrogatories are written questions put formally to one party by another; they are part of the “discovery” process in a lawsuit. These were asked for in November 2018 but put on hold due to delays created by the FNI.
  • Document disclosure by the Federal Crown is being reviewed and is to be concluded no later than October 31st.
  • Discoveries are to be scheduled prior to October 31st however they can be held after that date.
  • Prospective witness lists are to be exchanged no later than October 31st.
  • A follow up case management meeting date is set for the first week of November at which time the setting of trial dates is to be discussed.  A change of venue will be considered for the trial portion (St. John’s to Corner Brook) depending upon best Court availability based upon an anticipated 3 week trial.

All in all, we feel the meeting was very productive and we will report back after the next meeting.

While we do not have an active fundraising target or campaign going at the moment, we will need to fund the trial, so please continue to donate if you see fit to include us in your budget.

Kind regards,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


August 19, 2020:

Dear friends & supporters,

Attached please find:

(1) Our unaudited FOQ Financial Statements for Yearend October 31, 2019 prepared by our accounting firm Durward, Jones, Barkwell & Company LLP, who specialize in non-profit accounting.

(2) FOQA Received & Disbursed October 31, 2019

(3) BUSINESS_INVESTOR_ACCOUNT_3138-5252336_Sep_30-Oct_31_2019 and COMMUNITY_PLAN_PLUS_564-5222741_Sep_30-Oct_31_2019
Click on the highlighted files to view. You are receiving this much later than usual due to delays caused by the pandemic.

As you can see, Legal Costs continue to be our main expense. Bank Charges include the Donor Box credit card processing fees we pay at our end. Insurance and Professional Fees represent liability insurance we must carry and accounting fees, respectively. We operate on the bare minimum; there are no costs related to office rental or salaries.

We will provide you with our Bank Reconciliation and Statements after the October 31, 2020 yearend and follow up later with the filed Financial Statements for the period.

Our May to September fundraising campaign is moving along nicely; another $7,500 will get us there. If you have not made a contribution yet there is still time, and please encourage other family members and friends to do the same.

Thank you all for your continued generosity and moral support. We are hopeful that we can begin to move our case forward in the near future now that the appeals have been dealt with.

Kindest regards,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

To make a donation please visit our website
@ www.friendsofqalipu.ca
Copyright © 2020 o/a: Friends of Qalipu (FriendsofQalipu.ca) 1986648 Ontario Inc., All rights reserved.
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June 23, 2020:

Dear friends & supporters,

Since May 5th, after learning that the FNI appeal on “use of documents” was ruled in our favour, we have been awaiting the reopening of the courts from the pandemic. We expect that once that happens (hopefully soon) our case will be on a priority list and we can resume Case Management on outstanding matters and have a plan to move forward.

In the interim, rather than wait we have resumed fundraising with a goal of $25,000 by September 30th (basically $5,000 per month from May through September).

Since we announced our good news on May 5th, $8,140 has already been received thanks to the kind generosity of 89 donors, some of you first time donors. That leaves a balance of $16,860 which based on past experience is doable by September 30th with the support of another 186 people, some combination of current and new donors. If you have not already contributed to this round of fundraising (May through September) we encourage you to help us move closer to seeking justice by donating and encouraging other family members and friends to join you.

We will keep you posted when court resumes and when there is further news from Case Management.

Thank you so much for your faith in our cause and your ongoing support.
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

May 5, 2020:

Dear Family, Friends and Supporters,

It is with great pleasure that we share some news with you.

We have received the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal ruling dated May 5th, 2020 (copy attached) wherein the FNI’s Appeal on the Use of Documents was dismissed.  It was a unanimous decision from all three Justices; Hoegg, Fry and Green. Costs for the appeal were also awarded to us.

The ruling is fairly lengthy (17 pages) and while technical in nature, also allows for understanding on how they arrived at their decision.  We encourage everyone to take the time to read it.

We will now, along with our Lawyer, Mr. Morgan, move as quickly as we can, given the constraints to the litigation process caused by the Pandemic.  We will keep you posted as we gain more clarity with timelines, and funds which will be required for each stage.

We are clearly now “FULL ON” with our fundraising efforts. At this time, we also acknowledge with gratitude, your past generosity.   We know we are in difficult times financially due to the health and economic concerns we are all facing. Give what you can, when you can, so that we have a healthy reserve at the outset which will enable us to move forward with confidence.

Thank you for your faith in us and for staying the course. God bless you all.

Sincerely,

Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

Alternative link to May 5, 2020 Court of Appeal Ruling

To make a donation visit:
www.friendsofqalipu.ca

April 9, 2020:

Dear friends,

We have been asked by an increasing number of people whether the Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador (General Division) has ruled on the “FNI Appeal of Documents” heard on November 19th, 2019 in St. John’s.

As you know we had originally expected that there would be a ruling by late January or February. The first delay was the major storm that led to a state of emergency and closures in St. John’s and area.

Since then we have been keeping in touch regularly with our lawyer, Mr. Morgan, and today he advised that the courts in Newfoundland & Labrador are on restricted operations due to the Covid 19 Pandemic. Therefore we don’t expect that they will be releasing decisions for a while, as court staff have been dedicated to criminal matters. As a result, all civil litigation has essentially been suspended. Therefore we can expect an extended delay. This delay is strictly related to the pandemic and is unrelated to our case, as all cases are similarly affected. We would not be in a position to move our case forward in any event due to the travel and social distancing restrictions which would prevent us from conducting anticipated discoveries, etc. While this is disappointing, it is understandable under the circumstances.

We are very grateful to all of you for your financial and moral support, and acknowledge those who continue to send monthly and/or periodic donations. We are in good financial shape, and all our outstanding bills are up-to-date. Once things are active again, there will be a major push to raise funds. In the meantime, while we are waiting let’s use our personal time wisely. Be safe, follow the guidelines on restricted travel, physical distancing and self care. Take care of yourselves and loved ones and keep the faith.

Most Sincerely,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


January 12, 2020:

Dear friends & supporters,

We wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2020. May this be the year that we get some action on our long-awaited trial in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador. Many of you have been asking if there has been a ruling yet on the FNI Appeal of November. Not yet, but we do expect to hear something by the end of January hopefully, and will naturally advise you as soon as we do.

Our October 31st, 2019 year end bank reconciliation has been provided to our supporters via email. In due course, we will provide you with the accountant’s financial statement for the same period. As you know we collect funds as needed and keep a cushion on hand to allow for any unforeseen expenses. So far it has been working very well, and we thank you again for your support and confidence in us.

With very kind regards,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


November 23, 2019:

Dear friends & supporters,

Re:  FNI Appeal on Use of Documents, November 19, 2019

We are writing to provide you with a context and overview of the proceedings held in the Court of Appeal in St. John’s on Tuesday, November 19th.

In June of 2019, Justice Valerie Marshall (the case management judge) ruled in our favour on “use of documents” posted on an anonymous website that became available on the internet and shared to various Facebook groups. At the time, this website was promptly brought to the attention of the FNI executive and others. No claim of “solicitor client privilege” was made by the FNI to anyone (including our solicitor) until some 6 months later when Benoit et al filed two of the documents from this Website in its list of documents provided to the parties in November 2018, which were intended to be utilized in discoveries and trial.

This brought our planned litigation to a halt and Justice Marshall took steps to conduct a hearing to rule on the matter and six months later in June 2019 she ruled that the documents were not privileged because the FNI had acquiesced (done nothing to assert privilege) when they first learned of the website. The FNI moved immediately to appeal her decision. This is the background and basis for this week’s hearing in the Appeals Court of NL which was heard by a panel of three judges … Chief Justice Deborah Fry, and Justices Derek Green and Lois Hoegg.

Only one day was required, although two days had been reserved by Mr. Buckingham, Council for the FNI. The hearing was very technical in nature with the judges asking many questions of counsel on both sides in order to evaluate Justice Marshall’s decision and whether she had erred in her decision to rule in our favour. Council for both parties put forward valiant arguments against and for the validity of the ruling.

What is so significant about this and why is it such a complex matter? Simply put, there is no case law (precedent) anywhere that has ruled on solicitor client privilege regarding disclosure on the Internet. Therefore this ruling will be ground breaking in legal circles.

While we did not set out to find ourselves involved in a technical issue such as this one, it seems to us that we are meant to challenge it, not only to champion our cause but for the common good and service of justice. We did not expect an on-the-spot ruling this week; the matter requires review and deliberation by the 3 judges accompanied by a written ruling. When can we expect that ruling? It’s difficult to say, but we would say certainly not until January. After the ruling is made we will be back in case management with Justice Marshall as far as we know now, at which time next steps will be determined.

Many of you have reached out with questions and for this reason we felt it would beneficial to write a longer email to keep all our supporters in the loop, those of you who have been following us since inception and some of you who have only recently joined us.

You have also asked about further funding. We are happy to say that all our accounts have been paid to date. That being said, we feel that it would be prudent to start building a war chest now so that the matter can move quickly to trial once this issue is determined. As we have stated from the beginning, should we collect more than required to complete our claim the balance will be refunded to our donors on a pro rata basis, with your approval.

We will keep you posted and thank you for taking the extra time to read such a long yet significant update.

With respect & gratitude,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


October 19, 2019:

Dear Friends & Supporters,

We have a few updates to share with you:

1. The Abbott Ruling on Group Acceptance

The ruling on MFNAN’s Abbot Case in Federal Court became available in the public domain yesterday …. link provided below. The Conclusion and Judgment by Judge Lafreniere can be found on the last page. Unfortunately the ruling did not favour Mr. Abbott and the case was dismissed. This is a blow to all of us who have been hoping for a positive outcome on Group Acceptance.

Some of you have been asking us by private message if and how this ruling will affect our case at Friends of Qalipu Applicants. As we have stated before, our case is quite different from other court cases and that has been by design from the start; there is no point in spending money to duplicate the efforts of others.

The key issue in the Abbott ruling that may affect us is that the Federal Court has dismissed the argument that the criteria was prejudicial to applicants. While this ruling does not set a precedent for us in the NL Courts …. we are in a different jurisdiction and only a Supreme of Canada Court ruling can establish a precedent across jurisdictions … it may be persuasive to a ruling from the NL Courts.

More study is no doubt required by the legal minds involved in seeking justice across the board. What you need to know is that we do not see this ruling as affecting the FNI Appeal on Document Use scheduled in the NL Appeals Court in St. John’s on November 19-20. After that we will have a better idea of our direction.

2. Fundraising Efforts

At the beginning of July we set out to raise $20,000 to add to our reserve and carry us through November … $4,000 per month for 5 months. Thanks to so many of you we have to date received $15,000 of that amount leaving a balance of $5,000 needed over the next 10 weeks. That’s $500 per week on average …. WE CAN DO IT !!! If you have not already donated for this period please consider doing so and invite others you may know. To make a donation go to www.friendsofqalipu.ca.

3. Website Update

We have added a new tab called DOCUMENTS on our website to make it easier for you to find documents and look up details. The documents are labelled and are listed chronologically by date. We hope this helps. Again our website address is …. www.friendsofqalipu.ca

If you have any other questions, please reach out to us by email at … email@friendsofqalipu.ca

With kind regards,

Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

Link to Abbott Ruling:

https://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/fc-cf/decisions/en/item/423225/index.do?q=Justin+abbott&fbclid=IwAR0uLwYxNRkKOg8Jxa-YYSAAPyWb-aKT8cvtGY6stN7Fgn1KaImcGLJ8jpI


September 10, 2019:

Dear Friends & Supporters,

This afternoon in the NL Court of Appeal in St. John’s Justice Hoegg denied the FNI’s application to include a ruling on the issue of Joint Interest Privilege at their Appeal Hearing scheduled for November 13th and 14th.

We are very excited to share this news with you. The Court has requested FNI’s counsel to submit their Factum (statement of facts or written argument) for the November Hearing by the end of this week. So, November 13th and 14th is still on at the Newfoundland Court of Appeals, 287 Duckworth Street, St. John’s.

We could not be moving forward without YOUR moral and financial support. You are our heroes.

With our humble gratitude,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


September 4, 2019:

Dear friends & supporters,

You will recall back in early June that Justice Marshall ruled in our favour regarding use of documents that the FNI claimed were protected under Solicitor Client Privilege. During that hearing the issue arose of whether Benoit et al was entitled to see those documents regardless of the ruling to be rendered, as a matter of “Joint Interest Privilege” by our litigants and by de facto other former FNI members.

In rendering her decision, Justice Marshall did not see the necessity of ruling on Joint Interest Privilege since her conclusion was that there was sufficient evidence to rule that by their action (or rather inaction since they did not assert claim once said documents appeared in the public domain) the FNI had waived Privilege. Please note that Justice Marshall is the Case Management Judge overseeing our proceedings.

As you know, the FNI then filed an Appeal on Justice Marshall’s ruling which is scheduled to be heard in the Appeals Court in St. John’s on November 13th-14th.

We have just learned that the FNI filed an “Application to Amend Notice of Appeal” on August 27th and has scheduled a hearing on September 10th for the purpose of having the NL Court of Appeal include a ruling on the issue of Joint Interest Privilege at the hearing scheduled in November. The purpose of the Appeals Court is to render final decisions on rulings that have already been made. In the case of Joint Interest Privilege a ruling has not been made. It will be interesting to see how that plays out and whether it will kick the November Appeal down the road and hence trial dates.

You will note from the attachments that part of the relief sought by the FNI in their applications is removal of our legal council, Mr. Keith Morgan.

It would appear as though these delays are engineered in part to frustrate our efforts and discourage people’s financial support. How far we are prepared to go with this depends on your continued support. We believe we have a solid case with or without the challenged documents, although if we win the documents on appeal our case will be much stronger. The decision will, as always, rest with each one of you.

We will keep you posted regarding the outcomes of the September and November hearings, plus any new developments.

Yours in service,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

Refer to these documents for full details:
(1) Justice Marshall’s Ruling dated June 6, 2019
(2) FNI Notice of Appeal on Justice Marshall’s Ruling dated June 19, 2019
(3) FNI Request & Application to Amend Notice of Appeal dated August 27, 2019


AUGUST  1, 2019: Update

Dear Friends and Supporters,

First of all, thank you all, so very much for the confidence, faith and ongoing support you have shown us during the past two years. Much work has been done to get us to where we are today, yet there is more to do.
 
We expect very little news between now and the October Federal Elections except for the usual political promises which most likely will not materialize. It also appears that other groups are moving at a snail’s pace with no news since February (MFNAN) and March (Brake) cases respectively. Until the documents hearing is heard in November, the same holds true for us (Benoit).
 
Therefore, other than continuing to fundraise at $4,000 per month to build our “War Chest” we plan to take a much needed break ourselves over August & September, as we need to be focused and ready for the next leg or our work.
 
We will be keeping an ever watchful eye on any news and developments which may occur, and we will report to you in a timely manner. Take care of yourselves and your families and enjoy the rest of the summer.
 
Yours in good faith,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


JULY 17, 2019:
Financial Updates

Dear friends & supporters,
 
While we are waiting for the courts in November, now is a good time to update you on the administrative side of things.  To that end, we are attaching:
 
Our unaudited Financial Statement for the year ended October 31, 2018 prepared by the accounting firm Durward, Jones, Barkwell & Company LLP, who specialize in non-profit accounting.
 
(2) Bank Reconciliation worksheet for the period November 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.
 
(3) The latest Bank Statements (Statement #1 and Statement #2) to June 30, 2019.
 
If you have any questions about the statements, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
 
Legal fees and operating expenses paid in July brings our current account balances to roughly $18,000.  As we last stated, our goal is to collect $20,000 between July 1st and November 31st which will also see us through the November hearing unless the FNI/Qalipu and Canada find other ways to waste the people’s money.  That’s about $4,000 per month to November on average and so far we are on target for July. Then there will be costs for the trial itself; ballpark is $50,000 but it’s a little early to say definitively until we know what’s coming at us.
 
Thank you all for your generosity and your moral support, both of which are required to see this injustice through to resolution.
 
Kindest regards,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


JULY 3, 2019:
Ruling on Stay Application

Dear friends & supporters,
 
Justice Lois Hoegg of the NL Appeals Court granted a Stay of Proceedings to the FNI until the Appeal Hearing regarding “documentation” is heard and ruled on.  The appeal hearing is scheduled for November 13-14.
 
To be clear, we will continue to fight the FNI which is financially supported by the Government of Canada every step of the way.  It appears the strategy of the FNI and Canada is to exhaust our financial resources and deplete time hoping we lose focus and will.  We don’t know about you, but we don’t plan to accommodate.
 
We will be reviewing our strategy options with our Counsel Mr. Morgan in the coming days and will provide updates as they become available.
 
In the meantime, we ARE still in fundraising mode.  Please continue to donate and encourage others to donate as well.  If you need a goal, which seems to work, let’s say $20,000 over the next 5 months.
 
With respect & gratitude,
Helen, John, and Pauline


JUNE 25, 2019
:  FNI Launches Appeal & Stay Application Against Benoit

We encourage everyone to watch the video in addition to reading the email below including the transcript.

Dear friends & supporters,

This email will consist of two parts; a brief and detailed overview:

Brief Overview:

FNI President Brendan Mitchell and Directors have directed their lawyer to launch an APPEAL and STAY application filed on June 19, 2019 in an attempt to overturn the BENOIT WIN in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland as it pertains to the use of documents that could help our people.


During an interview conducted by Mr. Glenn Wheeler captured in a VIDEO below dated October 4, 2018, Brendan Mitchell acting in his capacity as FNI President communicated clearly that he would NOT APPEAL court decisions that help our people.

VIDEO: FNI President Brendan Mitchell dated October 4, 2018 promising he would not appeal court cases that help our people!.

TRANSCRIPTION OF VIDEO:
FNI President Brendan Mitchell – I WILL NOT APPEAL.mp4

Glenn Wheeler: [00:00:00] And Brendan, the question is this. You said that the best hope now for people who have been denied status in the Qalipu Band is probably the courts. Yet the FNI of which you are President is in court opposing those people seeking status in the litigation before the courts. Do you feel a sense of conflict when you’re authorizing payments to lawyers and would it not be appropriate for FNI to withdraw from litigation or leave it to the FEDS.

FNI President Brendan Mitchell [00:00:30] Thanks Glenn.  Our lawyers in court because we have no choice because we’re named in these court hearings. If you look at the court results from the Wells and Wells. Go back to Foster and House, look at the BENOIT DECISION. I’ve been asked by Canada; are you going to appeal those cases. You know what I told them? Absolutely not! Why would I make an appeal on positive decisions for our people?

FNI President Brendan Mitchell [00:00:57] I’m not here to go against our own people and this is what we do in these court cases. People name us, so a lawyer has to go there and be represented or represent us because we’re there with Canada named in the lawsuit. We don’t start our own lawsuits against our own people.

FNI President Brendan Mitchell [00:01:14] Let’s understand that and get it straight. And don’t be misled by what you hear and see on Facebook about people who don’t know what they’re talking about in such cases saying the Qalipu First Nation is about hurting its own people. I’m here to help our people I always have been, it’ll will never change for me. So when I get opportunities when Canada says to me are you going to appeal, I say no! Do you appeal Benoit; I say sorry we’re not doing it, these are our own people.

FNI President Brendan Mitchell [00:01:40] And when the Abbott cases finally heard which is the case I believe the government of Canada will have a very difficult time winning, and if they ask me am I going to appeal, my answer will be then probably; why would I appeal against our own people?


Detailed Overview:

Much has been happening since our last communication with you. As you all know, on the 6th of June, 2019 Justice Marshall, of the Supreme Court of NL, handed down a decision in favour of the Benoit Case (administered by Friends of Qalipu, aka FOQ) regarding sensitive documents that were posted on the internet.

Mr. Philip Buckingham of Goodland Buckingham has filed an Application appealing the decision of Madam Justice Marshall; as well he has asked for a Stay of Proceedings until the Appeal is heard. Both these applications were filed in the NL Court of Appeal on the 19th of June.


Copies of these filings (which are public) can be obtained directly from the Court of Appeal of Newfoundland and Labrador listed below:

Court of Appeal of Newfoundland and Labrador
287 Duckworth Street, P.O. Box 937
St. John’s, NL, A1C 5M3
Telephone: (709) 729-0066
E-mail: coaregistry@appeal.court.nl.ca


On the 20th of June 2019, the Court responded. They advised the Stay Application Hearing is scheduled for the 3rd of July, 2019 and is open to the public. The decision on this application could be ruled on the same day the application is heard, however if not, we believe it won’t be a long wait.

In relation to the documents we sought to use at Trial, should a Stay be granted, it gives the FNI time to delay answering interrogatories (questions) which we have already presented to them for their response.

As stated previously, we feel we have a good case even if the documents in question are not admissible; with them included, our Case is even stronger.

However, first things first. Once the Stay is dealt with, the next step is the FNI Appeal. The Courts will be closed for most of July and August so the earliest the Appeal would be heard will be September 2019. Whether the Stay is granted or not we will continue with Case Management as planned since there is no formal holiday period there.

The big question you all have is …. When is full trial expected? Pending the outcome of the above and no further delays, we are most likely looking at Winter/Spring 2020. We will be advocating to have the Trial held in Corner Brook since (a) the Court is more available, and (b) a large majority of those affected are likely on that side of the island and/or have relatives there if they live on the mainland and want to attend.

Finally, like you, we are very disappointed that the FNI saw fit to appeal the decision of a NL Supreme Court Judge especially in light of the fact that Chief Brendan Mitchell stated in public meetings pre-election October 2018 that he would NOT appeal The Benoit Court Ruling, and now we find that he has instructed his legal counsel to do just that. (Go to the Brief Overview section above, to read and listen to Mr. Mitchell making this statement).

We wish to Thank You all for your support, your patience, and your endurance. As details become available we will keep you updated.

With kind regards,

Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


JUNE 7, 2019:  A Win in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Today, we received some very exciting news that we want to share with you all. Justice Valerie Marshall, of the Supreme Court of NL has ruled in our favour on the use of documents the FNI sought to have excluded in their application to the Supreme Court of NL on May 9 – 10.

The COURT RULING is now available to the public for viewing and you can access it by clicking HERE. To assist you in understanding the ruling, please follow the document headings, and/or at minimum refer to the Conclusion on Page 27. Next week we will be discussing the ruling with our lawyer, Mr. Morgan, and we will keep you posted.

We want to CONGRATULATE all of you who have contributed to date; this is OUR collective win!

Sincerely yours,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

201801G1147 – Benoit v. Federation of NL Indians – June 6, 2019 – (SIGNED) – (FINAL).VLM


MAY 21, 2019:  Funding Update

Dear Supporters,

We are writing to say how grateful we are for all your support and to update you on this leg of the fundraising.  As you know we set out to raise $25,000 in March ahead of the “documents hearing” which was held on May 9th.  Our goal was to reach that amount by the end of May.  With 10 days to go, we have raised $17,040 or 68% ….. another $8,000 will get us there!

Please help us help you seek fairness and justice in court. If you have not done so recently or in awhile, consider making a donation now to get us to our interim funding goal, and later for trial. Together we can make this happen! There are many ways to do this:

    1. Direct donation as an individual
    2. Family or community donation
    3. Fundraising initiative via auction, etc.

With our humble gratitude for your support,
Helen, John, Pauline

Click here to make a donation.

Click here to learn about a fundraising initiative.


MAY 9, 2019: Hearing on Use of Documents

Dear friends & supporters,

An application filed by the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) was heard in open court yesterday, May 9th, 2019.  Justice Valerie Marshall presided over the hearing held in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador, General Division, St. John’s, NL.  Justice Marshall is also the Case Management judge presiding over our case.

In the application, the FNI seeks to suppress two documents included with the Plaintiffs’ (Benoit et al) List of Documents on the basis of solicitor client privilege.  Mr. Keith Morgan, counsel for the plaintiffs, maintained that any privilege that may have attached to these documents is either shared with the Plaintiffs as members of the FNI under joint or common interest privilege and/or has been lost as a result of waiver, as these documents have been published on the internet since May 2018.

The application for this hearing resulted in the postponement of our discoveries of witnesses which were scheduled for mid-December, 2018, and subsequently a delay in scheduling trial dates claiming “membership oppression” on the part of the FNI.

The documents in question are:

1.  Memorandum dated July 6, 2009 from FNI solicitor, Stephen J. May of Cox & Palmer, counsel for the FNI, addressed to the FNI Board of Directors with reference to the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band.

2.  Indemnity Agreement Letter dated June 13, 2013 addressed to Chief Brendan Sheppard, Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation with reference to the Indemnity Agreement.

These documents were posted on a website created by an anonymous party and appeared on social media Facebook groups in May 2018.

The Court heard from witness / FNI President Brendan Mitchell that he heard about this website via the FNI Communications Officer, and two emails he received from Marie Melanson (one of our litigants).  The first email Ms. Melanson sent only to Mr. Mitchell and the second one was copied to 49 people who had some current or former connection to the FNI and Qalipu Band, including Band Councillors.  Mr. Mitchell testified under oath that he did not reply to Ms. Melanson’s emails, nor did he take any other action to dispute these documents other than to discuss it with the FNI lawyer, Mr. Stephen May.  No attempts were made either to contact the website developer to take the documents or the website down. Mr. Mitchell did not know who was responsible for posting the documents and made no inquiries of current and former Board Members whether they had posted the documents.

The Court also heard from witness Marie Tapp Melanson, a litigant for the Benoit case, and was questioned by counsel for the FNI, Mr. Philip Buckingham.  Ms. Melanson under examination by FNI counsel gave evidence of her coming to know about the website and the documents, and while she admitted she is far from being educated in matters of the law, after reading the documents she was deeply troubled by them and felt that all members of the FNI ought to be able to have access to them as members.  She further testified that she believed she was entitled to read and distribute the documents as they were publicly available on the internet.  FNI counsel was unable to throw Ms. Melanson off subject and she held her ground and maintained her composure.

Summary

The hearing was highly technical in nature, however related to whether we will be able to refer to the documents to prove our case.  Legal arguments were presented from both sides, however, without a specific legal precedent to follow, the cases presented mostly pertained to legal principles with none specifically resembling our factual situation involving indigenous peoples and membership oppression by a non profit corporation, in this case purporting to represent the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland.

A win for us would therefore set a very significant precedent regarding the obligation of the Defendants to permit us access to information potentially relied upon by the FNI resulting in the ultimate adoption of the Supplemental Agreement.

It is important that you all know that we feel we have a good case without the two documents being questioned.  However, we feel we would not be serving the best interests of the people if we walked away without fighting to include them.

The Ruling

The matter now resides with Justice Marshall of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador who will render a written decision as soon as she can, which we estimate could take about six weeks.  Given that the Court closes for the summer session (July and August) we expect to have her decision ahead of that timeframe.

Thank you all so much for your support and good wishes.  From our perspective the hearing went as planned and expected, and we will remain hopeful for a positive result.

Yours in good faith,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


MAY 3, 2019

Dear friends & supporters,

Re: May 9-10 Supreme Court of Newfoundland Hearing

The Hearing requested by the FNI to rule on two of the documents we filed for use in our trial is just a week away. While this hearing is more procedural in nature, nonetheless it is necessary in order for us to move forward with the next steps of:

– Discoveries which were originally planned for mid-December 2018.

– Setting trial dates.

Court is “open” court and will take place on Thursday and Friday, May 9th and 10th, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, at the Supreme Court, 309 Duckworth Street, St. John’s, NL. If you plan to attend, please arrive about 30 minutes ahead of time to go through security and be seated.

This Hearing will not be live streamed, however we will keep you posted on the ruling and next steps at our earliest opportunity.

Very kind regards,
Helen, John, Pauline

MARCH 4, 2019

Dear Friends & Supporters,

Attached please find the following:

Disbursed October 2018:
FOQ Received & Disbursed October 31, 2018 (Revised Feb.18, 2019)

Disbursed January 2019:
FOQ Received & Disbursed January 2019

– REVISED October 31st Year-End Receivables & Disbursements (2 worksheets). Some minor changes after reconciling for the unaudited financial statements.

– NEW Three-Month November 1st, 2018 to January 31st, 2019 Receivables & Disbursements (1 worksheet). Please note that our bank balances were $22,063.19 as of January 31st.

Our current bank balance is $20,489.57. We expect that March, April and May expenses will draw down most of that amount in legal fees.

In our last communications our fundraising goal to May 15th was $10,000. On further reflection we are revising that May 15th goal to $25,000. There is no reason to wait as far as we are concerned. After the May 9th/10th ruling, we will be able to provide a better estimate of total costs to completion.

Thank you very much for your ongoing support. If you have any questions, or need clarity, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely yours,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

FEBRUARY 14, 2019

WITHOUT PREJUDICE

Dear Friends & Supporters,

With regard to our email of yesterday resulting from the public accusation by Jerry Lyver of MFNAN that Friends of Qalipu has been thrown out of court and are finished, we have spoken with Mr. Morgan, our lawyer. You will find attached an email (in JPEG format) from him stating the status of our case as being completely on track as per our communication to you on January 17, 2019.

We are considering our options resulting from this slanderous accusation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours sincerely,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

Attachments:

FEBRUARY 13, 2019

Dear Friends,

It has come to our attention, that a malicious and libelous statement was made on the MFNAN Facebook group late this afternoon that is meant to derail our legal initiative. Rather than wait to speak with our lawyer Mr. Morgan in the morning, we felt that we should not risk this gaining any traction which it is obviously meant to do.

Here is what was said by Jerry Lyver, representative of MFNAN:

One other thing to consider here with Helen stirring the shit pot … why has she not notified her group that her case has been ended yet … she has lost but appears to still be soliciting money… is this because she is on the hook for 40-50 thousand dollars herself??.. this was released a few days ago but she is still out there with her hands out.. her lawsuit has been tossed out.. nothing more to do … its over for her…

This is completely untrue. However, it is the third place the “being tossed out of court” rumour has surfaced in the last few days. Once from a former Qalipu councillor. Once from a podcast host. And twice now from MFNAN representatives. You would think we would be the first to know if there were changes in our case, and from experience you know we are very transparent and timely in our communications to you. Plus we never spend money we don’t have, it is against our policy. So what is at play here??

We will be speaking with our lawyer first thing in the morning about this and will (1) Post proof from the Court Docket for the May hearing, and (2) Seek counsel on potential defamation of character and damages.

Yours sincerely,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

JANUARY 17, 2019

Dear Friends & Supporters,

A Case Management meeting was held on Tuesday January 17th with counsel for all parties in attendance, Justice Valerie Marshall presiding. May 9th and 10th have been reserved in NL Supreme Court, St. John’s, for a Hearing requested by Counsel for the FNI on whether certain documents filed by our Counsel are privileged and whether there is “joint interest privilege” in relation to documents generally. We expect that a ruling on this Hearing will be expedient. Once we know the decision of the Courts in May we will finalize our next steps and advise accordingly.

Our expenses are paid to date and our current bank balance is $21,119.59. Expenses from now through May (including hearing costs) are estimated to be $20,000. Between now and May we would like to raise an additional $10,000 to have a buffer in reserve; that would be approximately $2,500 per month. Thank you all (old and new) for your ongoing support, and to a group of independent fundraisers who have done an awesome job of contributing their creative talents and skills!

While delays are a strategy to be expected, and May seems like a long wait, in the general scheme of things we have been able to secure a date in relative short order insofar as Court availability is concerned.

Respectfully yours,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

DECEMBER 19, 2018

Dear Friends & Supporters,

We would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your support, both financial and moral, during the year 2018. While much has been accomplished, other hurdles remain to be overcome before we get to full trial in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador. We believe that the perseverance of our group and litigants have in very large part contributed to bringing Canada and the FNI/Qalipu to the negotiating table. Whether they are just blowing smoke or anything comes of the talks, we must not under any circumstances stop now. We must see this through to conclusion so that our families and ancestors are honoured.

A few points to bring you up to date on:

– A new Case Management Judge has been assigned to us by the Supreme Court of NL; Justice Valerie L. Marshall will replace Justice William H. Goodridge.

– As we reported in our last email, in the matter of Solicitor/Client Privileged documents brought forward by the FNI, the court has ordered FNI Counsel to file an application with the courts by today, December 19th to have the issue ruled on. They have also been asked to report back to Case Management as early as possible in January to set dates for this hearing. After the hearing and ruling on documents, Discoveries will then proceed as planned, after which trial dates will be set.

As of today, December 19th, our net bank balance is $29,151.32. This is $4,000 more than the $25,000 goal we were seeking in our last major drive. It seems that Creator knew we would need a little extra to deal with the delays upon us. We are always mystified when this happens. Thank you! Our November legal fees have already been paid and we will have another invoice from our lawyer for work carried out in December which will be due early January.

Some of you have asked where we are with fundraising now. We are always open to receive donations. As before, we will let you know when we have a specific amount we need by a certain date and what it’s for. This has worked really well and so many of you have been responsive to this call, whether by direct donation or via auctions and sales of creative items.  Our donor base is now close to 800 whether by single donor or family units, and we know that we have you all to thank for spreading the word. Some of you have made the commitment to donate monthly, others for specific campaigns, and all the little bits here and there are adding up handsomely. Some of you have asked whether you can make donations as “gifts” to family members, and our answer is “why not?”, and we will create a receipt to your specifications. We are grateful for every penny because we know it comes from the heart for the highest purpose.

The consensus on preparation of Financial Statements to Year End October 31, 2018, is that we go with “unaudited” statements and not spend the extra money for audited ones. We will proceed with getting this done come January and will provide same to you in due course.

In closing, we wish you and yours the most Blessed Christmas and Season of Light in the tradition that speaks best to you. Following is a link to “Oh Holy Night” sung by Richard Poulette in Mi’kmaq and English. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BDF8ogVPAg&app=desktop

Peace & goodwill now and in 2019 …..
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

DECEMBER 7, 2018

Dear friends and supporters,

Please be advised that a case management hearing was conducted this morning at the request of Philip Buckingham of Goodland Buckingham, counsel for the FNI. As a result of the case management meeting, the following was ordered:

1. Discoveries have been postponed pending determination of claims of “solicitor client privilege” by the FNI relative to documents contained in the Plaintiffs’ list;

2. Counsel for the FNI is to file its application to the Court claiming privilege no later than December 19, 2018;

3. Upon filing of their application, counsel for the FNI is to request a further case management meeting in January to set a date for hearing of the Application and address any issues arising from the filing of the application;

4. Plaintiffs’ counsel and the Plaintiffs are to refrain from any further distribution of the documents upon which privilege has been claimed pending determination of the issue by the Court.

What does this mean to our case and the timelines?

• Our case itself remains unchanged. We have made a claim of Membership Oppression asking that the Supplemental Agreement be struck.

• The Court will rule on whether the documents in question can be used as evidence in our case.

• The timelines will certainly move out by a couple of months but will ultimately depend on court availability to hear this application and rule on it before moving ahead.

• We will incur some extra cost estimated to be in the range of $5,000. We will provide updates on timelines and funding requirements as things unfold. For the time being our finances are good.

If you have any questions, please send us a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Yours in good faith,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


DECEMBER 6, 2018

Dear trusted supporters,

Attached for your review, please find in JPEG format:
– BMO reconciliation spreadsheet from inception July 19, 2017 to March 2, 2018 (1 page)
– BMO bank statement to close account March 2, 2018 (1 page)
– TD reconciliation spreadsheet from December 20, 2017 to October 31, 2018 (1 page)

– TD bank statements (2) as of October 31, 2018 (4 pages)

In our email of August 8th we shared that at our year-end we would provide “audited” financial statements. Since that time a few of you (our donors) who work in financial positions have suggested that we not spend the extra money for “audited” statements since our income and expenses are very straightforward with each item detailed and bank statements provided. There is a logic to this, however we will go with what you feel is acceptable. Our incorporation as a non-profit organization does not require us to provide audited financial statements.

If you have any questions or input regarding the statements and whether we should do audited statements or just go with unaudited, please let us know in the next week or so and we will act accordingly.

Kind regards,
Helen, John, Pauline
Attachments (7)  [Please click on each attachment to view]


NOVEMBER 26, 2018

Dear Friends,

We are very pleased to share with you that as of this morning we are within $5,000 of the $25,000 we were seeking to raise on November 14th. Based on those numbers and the timeline, we believe that it is well within our capability to raise this $5,000 by Sunday, and give Mr. Morgan a “green light” to proceed with discoveries mid-December.

Thank you to all of you who have made this possible, including our 45 or so new donors who have stepped forward in the last month.

With deep gratitude,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


NOVEMBER 20, 2018

Dear friends & Supporters,

Since our email of November 14th (less than a week ago), we have received $12,000 in donations from 85 individuals/families in our donor base of 730 (this includes 30 of you who are new donors). Thank you one and all.

This leaves the balance still required by the beginning of December at $13,000. We are halfway there and we need a little weight-lifting from everyone who can to cover the legal fees for discoveries of our witnesses from December 10th to 14th. Once discoveries are completed by both sides, trial dates will be set. This is something we have all been working toward and now is not the time to quit, on the contrary it is the time to keep our foot on the gas peddle if we want a chance for ALL OUR PEOPLE to get a fair shake under the terms of the Agreement in Principle.

If another 130 of you stepped forward for this phase with $100 on average …. more or less according to your means ….. we can cover the costs of this necessary step (discoveries) in preparation for Trial in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland with the goal of Striking the Supplemental Agreement and Point System.

To make a donation please go to our website …. www.friendsofqalipu.ca. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to any one of us and we will get back to you at our earliest possible convenience.

With gratitude, yours in good faith,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

PS: There is also a Facebook group called “Friends of FOQ Fundraising” which is arms length from us where individuals are graciously and generously offering their artwork and crafts to raise money for our court action. You might wish to do some of your Holiday shopping there.


NOVEMBER 14, 2018

Dear Friends & Supporters,

We are humbled that you have put your confidence in our ability to represent you through our lawyer, Mr. Keith Morgan. As you know, we cannot authorize legal work unless we have the funds in advance. We are writing today to let you know that we need to raise $25,000 by the beginning of December in order to proceed with the next stage of our court case.

Most of this amount is required to prepare for and conduct our discoveries scheduled to take place December 10-14, which is the final step in preparation for trial in Spring 2019. Discovery means both parties in the lawsuit exchange information and documents that relate to the case. As mentioned in the last email, we will be examining/discovering Annie Randall, Brendan Mitchell, Calvin White, Fred Caron, Liz LaSaga, Steve May, and Tom Rideout.

Our legal freight train is nearing the destination we have all worked so hard for over the past 2 years – that destination is a TRIAL to strike down the Supplemental Agreement. We are so close, and we have a very real opportunity to fix this. Let’s do it together!

With deep respect and gratitude,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

PS:  What else can I do to help, IN ADDITION TO making a donation myself?  Make a donation by clicking here …. www.friendsofqalipu.ca … and invite others to join you in your support.


NOVEMBER 2, 2018

Dear friends & supporters,

It’s hard to believe how quickly time is flying. Already we are into November and soon the snow will be flying …. everywhere!  We have some updates for you:

FUNDRAISING
– Coming into November our bank balance is $11,041 after expenses to date.
– We will require another $28,959 by December for legal expenses.
– So that’s $40,000 in total by the end of the year.
– To complete our two-week trial another $110,000 will be required.

– So that’s $150,000 to completion.

Please contribute and encourage at least one other person (family or friend) that you know to join you.

DISCOVERY OF WITNESSES

As mentioned in our last communication, our lawyer Mr. Keith Morgan is scheduled for discoveries Dec. 10-14. Discoveries are a prerequisite for trial. Our list has already been submitted to counsel for the FNI and Canada. For your information, here are the candidates we expect to discover for our case:

– Annie Randall:  Former FNI Executive & Qalipu CEO
– Brendan Mitchell:  FNI President & Qalipu Chief
– Calvin White:  Former Band Chief & President of the FNI
– Fred Caron:  Ministerial Special Representative for INAC
– Liz LaSaga:  Former Flat Bay Chief & FNI Representative
– Steve May:  Past & Present Legal Counsel for the FNI / Qalipu

– Tom Rideout:  Former Enrolment Committee Chair

TIMELINES
– Discoveries by our side:  December 10-14
– Discoveries by the other side:  By end of January latest
– Next case management meeting:  February 5th
– Trial dates …. expect to be set February 5th, hoping for May/June

– Location …. the soonest available location, possibly Corner Brook

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you very much for your support!

Yours sincerely,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


OCTOBER 24, 2018

Dear friends and supporters,

The “voting members” of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation have spoken and their choice is to maintain and strengthen the “status quo”.  While this is a shock to everyone and we certainly feel your pain, it is a logical conclusion of the nature of the OPPRESSIVE ACTS given that over 10,000 original founding members were removed from the Band and the Indian Register TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE ELECTION and therefore could not vote. It is also a logical conclusion that the larger majority who maintained or gained status and could vote would vote to protect what they have or perception of what they may lose.

SO WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE US?
  It leaves us where we have always been, seeking a ruling in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland on the basis of “membership oppression” and asking that the Supplemental Agreement be struck in its entirety. Nothing has changed for us; the only difference now is that we can focus our time and energy entirely on fundraising for FULL TRIAL. To that end here is a brief recap of where we are in the process: Our revised Statement of Claim has been filed and the parties are preparing their defenses (timeline to be completed Nov. 7th or sooner). The Federal Crown remains as a Defendant.

– Dec. 10th to 14th has been scheduled for our Counsel to discover witnesses. We have an impressive list of people to be called and will share the names once the parties for the defence have had an opportunity to review them (expected by Nov. 7th latest).

– No later than January 31st dates will be scheduled for the defendants’ Counsel to discover our witnesses (which include our litigants).

– Counsel for all parties will reconvene with the Case Management Judge on February 5that which time trial dates are expected to be scheduled.

– In order to see this entire process through we require $150,000 and of that amount $40,000 by the end of December.  We currently have $7,000 in the bank.

It is our expectation that more supporters will join the 700 individuals/families who have already generously donated so that we can take this final step to have the courts rule on our claim of membership oppression”.

We will take our direction from you and we must have your consensus and support fairly soon if we are to proceed.  We are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Thank you one and all for placing your trust with us.

Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

VIEW THE DOCUMENTS BELOW in PDF:

Amended SOC re Benoit et al.


SEPTEMBER 15, 2018

Dear Friends of Qalipu supporters,

We are pleased to share that it is our intention to move forward with our full trial in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland, with your blessings. In order for you to make an informed decision on your support in this court action, we are providing a synopsis of our Case Management Meeting with Justice Goodridge and counsel for all parties held Wednesday, September 12.

1.  Amendment to Our Pleadings (i.e. Statement of Claim)

Based on the Statutory Order given by Justice Jillian Butler on June 22, 2018, we have revised our Statement of Claim (also referred to as our Pleadings).  Counsel for the FNI has consented to our amendments but counsel for the Federal Crown is still seeking instructions. We are proceeding with “preparation” of our application for the amendment and will have it ready for Judge Goodridge before the end of this month.  It is anticipated that we will have the Crown’s position prior to the application being heard.

2.  Inclusion of the Federal Crown as Interpleader

We have amended our Pleadings to include the Federal Crown as an “Interpleader” rather than a Defendant.  There are technical reasons for doing so and after discussing them with our lawyer, Mr. Morgan, we trust his decision.

3.  Filing of Documents

We are prepared to file our documents once our amended Pleadings are accepted by all parties.  We have requested a filing of documents on Sept. 30th, however Judge Goodridge will establish exact timelines for the various components (filing of amendments, completion of pre-trial procedures, document production and discoveries) at the next case meeting.

4.  Discoveries

Discovery is a pre-trial process at which lawyers for each of the parties questions other parties under oath, about the matters involved in the lawsuit to determine what will be brought to trial. This is the last step before trial dates are determined. The length of time to do discoveries depends on the number of people being discovered.

5. Potential Trial Dates

Once we have pleadings established, documents produced and discoveries completed, we will get a better sense of the time we will require for trial.  The Supreme Court in St. John’s is double booked through to June 2019.  An alternate location is Corner Brook possibly for the Spring 2019 depending on the time required for trial which will be determined after discoveries.

6. Estimated Costs

At this stage we anticipate a three week trial however until discoveries are completed the exact length can only be estimated.  Based on a three-week assumption, our costs will be approximately $150,000. That would include disbursements, travel, HST, and a reserve in the event that we should loose and be ordered to pay court costs.  This is in line with our original estimate from Mr. Keith Morgan of $250,000 inclusive, $105,000 of which is already spent.

IN SUMMARY

We need to raise $150,000. This will require a commitment of our current and prospective donors.  It is attainable based on our having raised $105,000 (excluding the initial $15,000 for the legal opinion) over the last 9 months.

Let’s be optimistic and assume 6 months to trial. We could reach our $150,000 goal based on an average of $25,000 per month for 6 months.  Currently we have about 700 donors/families. Bringing the number of donors to at least 1,000 would be fantastic!  Our average donation continues to be $150 per person/family … some more some less, each to their means.  The math works out if we have 1,000 donations x $150 average donation per family = $150,000.  Now is the time to start raising funds.

The decision rests with you dear friends.  We are here to move this forward if it is your collective will. We believe that we have a strong case to win at trial.  Should we win in the courts and have the Supplemental Agreement struck, it affects BOTH the 10,000+ disenfranchised and second stage applicants who never had their applications reviewed based on the original “ratified” Agreement.

This is not only a matter of breaking a contract that was made in good faith, it has become a matter of principle for many and a sign of the times for what other First Nations can expect going forward. Are we going to accept this? Or are we going to stand up for what is right and for our people?

We will have more concrete details and timelines after our next Case Management meeting with Judge Goodridge.  As we have stated in the past, should we not reach our goal, monies will be returned to donors on a pro-rata basis.

Sincerely in your service,

Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

www.friendsofqalipu.ca


AUGUST 8, 2018

Dear Friends & Supporters,

We are pleased to provide a summary of Receivables & Disbursements for our account since inception, July 2017 when we first began to collect donations to obtain a Legal Opinion. [Full copy of statement available to Donors on request.]

These are the highlights of our statement @ July 31, 2018:
– $122,499.73 has been collected in total; $7,080 of that amount via community fundraising
– Expenses have totalled $113,813.55 (credit card hold of $1,000 deducted), with legal fees representing $108,717.03 or 96% of total expenses
– $15,000 of the legal fees were for the original Legal Opinion
– Our other operating costs are 4% ….. 5% or less was our goal
– All bills are paid and our bank balance is $7,686.18 plus the $1,000 credit card hold

The official year-end for Friends of Qalipu (FOQ) will be October 31st. After that time we will provide you with an audited statement in keeping with our intention of transparency and accountability.

As you know, our policy is to have a concrete plan for each step before we solicit for donations. We expect this to be forthcoming after our next Case Management Meeting with the parties on SEPTEMBER 13th. In the meantime, please know that it is our intention to proceed with our full trial as planned and that will require what we have raised so far (and some) and more donors to share the load. We will have a better idea of remaining costs once our lawyer, Mr. Morgan, is able to review where things stand in September and what amendments, if any, we will need going forward. Some of you have continued to send donations in anticipation of moving forward, and that’s okay too.

The timeline will be another issue we hope to have more clarity on after September 13th. As we know from other cases, getting a court date is an exercise in patience, however we are all in the same boat when it comes to that aspect. Much depends on the availability of court time, and then the availability of all parties. This is true, regardless of jurisdiction and whether it is federal court or supreme court.

We will keep you posted as news arises. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

With our very kind regards,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


JULY 23, 2018

Dear Friends & Supporters,

The date for our next Case Management Meeting with Newfoundland’s Supreme Court judge has been set for Thursday, September 13th in accordance with the availability of all parties. While we had hoped for an earlier date, we are nonetheless pleased with this one as we will know ahead of that meeting whether the removal of the 10,000+ status members has in fact been enacted.

At the end of July we will provide our Statement of Receipts & Disbursements since inception for your review so that you have a complete report on how your donations have been spent.

Following the Case Management Meeting in September, Mr. Morgan will finalize plans, including costs, and hopefully the timelines for full trial in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador.  At that time we will ask for your support to move forward.

Enjoy the good weather!

Warm regards,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


JULY 
5, 2018

Dear Friends & Qalipu Supporters,

Counsel for the Parties (Canada, the FNI, and ourselves) are in the process of planning our next Case Management meeting to assess the positions regarding recent court decisions, and schedule a timeline for the continuation of our Litigation. We are hoping that meeting will occur sometime toward the end of July pending everyone’s schedule (Mr. Morgan has already given his availability).  Following this meeting, we will report back to you on what our Litigation Plan is, along with the anticipated timelines and estimated costs.

Currently all our expenses have been paid and we have a reserve of just over $10,000 in the bank. We hope to have a statement for you over the next while, outlining our financial position (income, expenses, reserve) since incorporation on December 20, 2017.  We wish you and your families a wonderful summer, filled with good health, happiness and memory-making.

Warm regards,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

Additional Clarification Points:

We understand that some people may be confused about what we have done, and where we are going.  We would like to address this in 2 points:

1)  The recent Supreme Court of Newfoundland court hearing on June 18, 19, 20th was NOT our FULL TRIAL. It was an attempt to stop the enrollment process via “temporary injunction” to keep the 10,396 est. members on the band list while our court case was heard.  The injunction was not granted unfortunately.  However, a strong declaratory order by Justice Butler was provided condemning the actions of the FNI and Canada which is very positive for our upcoming case.

2)  We have been pursuing a FULL TRIAL case since February 2018 and continue down that path.  We have never taken our eye off this goal for a second.  We have always been, and continue to aggressively and strategically pursue the path toward FULL TRIAL.  It is the sole reason we started this.


JUNE 28, 2018

Our Dear Friends,

We learned late this afternoon on social media that the Founding Members List for the Qalipu Band was updated by way of an ORDER IN COUNCIL on Monday, June 25th as scheduled.
 
 
It goes without saying that we share your sadness, your grief, and your anger.  It would appear that the amendments were prepared well ahead of Justice Gillian Butler’s ruling in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador late on Friday, June 22nd.  This has not been confirmed by our counsel, Mr. Keith Morgan, as he was not afforded a courtesy call from either the Crown Attorney or the FNI Attorney, regarding their decision to move forward.
 

While we are saddened by this turn of events, let’s not forget that our Statement of Claim filed in February 2018 is one of Oppression naming the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) as the First Defendant, and Canada as the Second Defendant.  This claim has yet to go to full trial in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.  Last week’s ruling and Declaratory Order by Justice Butler strengthens the position of our Claim significantly and while some naysayers have stated we gained nothing, much was accomplished (refer to our last email for an overview & the ruling from the Court).  Today’s news release will now allow us to expeditiously determine our position, make any suggested amendments to our pleadings, and move forward in our Case Management Process. Once we have had an opportunity to discuss all of this with Mr. Morgan, we will correspond with you on options and timelines.

Ultimately it is you, the people, that we represent and it will be your direction we will follow.

With great respect,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


JUNE 23, 2018

Dear Friends & Supporters,

We are very happy to attach the ruling rendered by Justice Gillian Butler in the Matter of Benoit v. Federation of Newfoundland Indians, 2018 NLSC 141, dated June 22, 2018, Docket 201801G1147. [Click on the following link to view ruling.]  Judge Butler’s Ruling.

We draw your attention especially to the closing pages, 35 and 36, “Declaratory Order” in Justice Butler’s ruling. While this is not an Injunction, it is an extremely persuasive declaration. Our claim of “member oppression” is endorsed by this decision as a serious issue for consideration in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador.

Over the next few days, our lawyer, Mr. Keith Morgan, will be assessing the implications of this decision in its fullness and how this impacts our ongoing litigation. We consider this very good news indeed and wanted to share it with you without delay

With our deep gratitude & respect,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


May 28, 2018

Dear Donors & Friends,

Today our lawyer, Keith Morgan, attended the scheduled Case Management Meeting with Justice Goodridge, and counsel for the parties (the FNI and the Crown/Canada).

It is our pleasure to share with you that the date to hear our Injunction Request by the Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador, has been moved up to June 18th from June 28th by virtue of the Federal Crown’s intention to have the Founders’ List adopted by midnight, June 25th. Further, there is a commitment by the Court to have a decision on the Injunction Request prior to adoption of the Founder’s List.

Please note this is not a determination of our case, which is a separate issue, this is only with regard to the Injunction Request which, as we mentioned in our last email, is a very important first step.

In order to move forward on this, we will need to raise approximately $30,000 in “additional” funds by June 15th latest. Among other costs, our litigants will need to be in St. John’s in person for cross-examination. There are now 535 of you who are donors, with the average donation being $150. As you all know, we continue to be very grateful for whatever each of you are able to offer within your means and timeframe. WE CAN DO IT !!!

With this good news, may we all take pause to offer our gratitude to the Creator for having brought us this far.

With our sincere appreciation to each and every one of you.
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


May 10, 2018

Dear Friends,

Our last update on April 13th provided an overview of our legal proceedings, as well as an update on the Case Management Meeting with Justice Goodridge and the parties held on April 11th. You may wish to review that email for complete details.

The Briefs with regard to our Motion for an Injunction requested by Justice Goodridge at the April 11th meeting met the timeline requirements, ours was submitted on April 23rd and the defendants on May 8th. We are also pleased to report that the Defences for the FNI and Canada to our Statement of Claim have finally been filed. Our next Case Management Meeting with the parties is scheduled for May 28th, although as we mentioned in our last email, dates are likely to remain fluid as need be.

Our lawyer, Mr. Keith Morgan, is reviewing all the materials received and we will provide you with a further update in the very near future. We are all, of course, waiting for further clarification on Monday’s Federal Court rulings on the Wells and Brake cases and what that means for the Enrolment Process and most importantly for the timing of the proposed amendments to the Indian Register.

Thank you all for your support and for staying the course,
Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


April 13, 2018

Dear Friends & Supporters,

We wish to advise that we have followed up with our lawyer, Keith Morgan, to ask questions and clarify the details of the Case Management Meeting held Wednesday, April 11, 2018.  As laypeople, we felt this was necessary in order to get a better understanding of what transpired at the meeting and also it would enable us to communicate more accurately with you, our supporters.  So that we are all on the same page, here are some background points we wish to establish.
Background
– It is important to understand that the basis for our Statement of Claim is “Member Oppression” (for reference our Statement of Claim is posted on our website under UPDATES). This is different from a Judicial Review (MFNAN), or a Class Action which seeks damages (Mr. Brake).
– We filed a Notice of Motion for an Injunction with our Claim (also available under UPDATES) because of the timelines associated with the amendment of the Founders’ List and the impending removal of 10,512+ status members. While we do have a case without an Injunction being granted, it is prudent to continue with both avenues and see how the timelines unfold.
– Our filings were made initially in Federal Court and within a few days (after discussion with the parties) was moved to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador on February 12th, 2018. Despite commentary on social media, we ARE filed in the correct jurisdiction.
– The relief we are seeking is for the “lasting benefit” of the members through inclusion within the band, as was agreed upon in 2008, by asking the Court to strike the Supplemental Agreement because it was not ratified by the members. We are not seeking damages, although we do ask for court costs should we win our case. Our relief is governed by the Newfoundland Corporations Act, and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) is a Newfoundland Corporation.
Meeting Update
Justice Goodridge is very aware of the issues, is monitoring the Founders’ List amendments and timelines, and appears to be prepared to change timelines and act as need be. Our feeling is it would not be wise, legally or politically, for the parties to try and deliberately deceive the intentions and work of the Case Management process.
The Defendants (FNI primarily) raised issues around our Injunction Application for which Justice Goodridge has requested legal briefs with tight timelines; ours by April 23rd, and the Defendants by May 8th. These dates are within the timelines to allow for an Injunction to be considered by the Court.
In the unlikely event that the Founding Members’ List is concluded prior to judicial determination of our Injunction Application or our Claim (if that is more expeditious), the Court may see fit to ask the Crown to refrain from removal of the Plaintiff’s (and by
implication the 10,512+ as well) until after our claim is heard and determined by the Court.
The Defendants have still not filed their defences and the Court has requested that they do so by latest May 28th. Both Defendants have agreed that this would be done.
The next Case Management date is set for May 28th at 2:30 pm NL time. Mr. Morgan is quite flexible with his availability, and both Ms. Peck and Judge Goodridge had earlier dates in May available. However, Mr. Buckingham was not available until May 28th. At that time, everyone’s  briefs will have been filed, we will know what the status is on the new Founding Members’ List, as well as the Crown’s position regarding adherence to a Declaratory Order.
In the event that the Court is favourably disposed to hearing our Injunction Application after having reviewed our briefs on the preliminary issues, we expect a hearing to be held very shortly thereafter if necessary. Alternatively, the current dates for June 26-28 are reserved (all things being equal), however it is not anticipated that the full three days will be required, more likely one day.
Summary & Funding

We realize not having an Injunction in place at this stage may be disappointing for some of you and raise a myriad of questions for which we have no answers at this time. As we are sure you can appreciate, it is a very complex situation with many moving parts. While firm dates have been established, do not lose sight of the fact that exact timing is likely to remain fluid. Our recommendation is that we bring our case to this next step and re-assess from there.

Our target funding goal for the end of April for $25,000 is still in effect. However, we can now move that target nearer to the middle of May for the last $10,000 we still require, given the known timelines. If you have not done so already, please encourage others you know who have a vested interest, to learn about and support our cause. Our website address is … www.friendsofqalipu.ca

We trust that you feel better informed as a result of this very lengthy communication. Thank you all for your support, financial and moral.

With our gratitude,

Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


March 28, 2018

We have been advised by our counsel, Keith Morgan of Browne Fitzgerald Morgan & Avis, that our Notice of Motion for an Injunction hearing has finally been scheduled for June 26th through 28th, in accordance with the availability schedules of Philip Buckingham of Cox & Palmer, counsel for the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI), and Kelly Peck, counsel for Her Majesty the Queen (Canada).

As many of you know already, there are two components to our case, one is the Injunction (this is where we are now), and the other is a Statement of Claim (which follows the Injunction, if granted). Both of those documents are archived on our website under the UPDATE of Feb. 2nd.

Mr. Morgan will raise the timing of the hearing during the next scheduled Case Management Meeting on April 11th. As mentioned in our last communication of March 20th, we will also verify the finalization of the Founding Members List since this is an extremely vital factor in our case. We will keep you posted as new developments unfold.

Very kind regards,

Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier


March 20, 2018

In our last update on March 3rd, we shared that the Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador has appointed the Honorable Justice William Goodridge as the Case Mangement Judge and the Honorable Justice Alphonsus Faour as the alternate on our file.

Since then, our lawyer, Keith Morgan of Browne Fitzgerald Morgan & Avis (St. John’s NL) has had an opportunity to meet with Honourable Justice William Goodridge. Our Notice of Motion for an Injunction has been ready to go since filing, however, defences for both the Federal Government and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) are not expected to be filed until the end of this current week.

Our Injunction Application is anticipated to require three days to conclude and right now the earliest dates available for hearing are being canvassed with the Court and legal counsel for all parties. Rather than wait for that, we felt it best to update you since we know you are anxious to receive news. The next Case Management meeting has been scheduled for April 11th, with all parties in attendance. However, we hope to have a date established before then.

As we all know, an extremely important factor with timelines is the preservation of status for our carded members who are at risk of being removed, at minimum until such time as our Injunction Notice is heard and pending that outcome until such time as our Statement of Claim is heard. Our lawyer, Mr. Morgan, is extremely sensitive to this issue and has emphasized the urgency of this matter to the Court.

In this regard the preliminary indication from Canada and the FNI, as yet unconfirmed, is that the Founding Members List will not be finalized until the conclusion of current litigation before the Courts. We presume this means the litigation before the Federal Court by the MFNAN and Jerry Brake, and should know after the next meeting on April 11th whether it includes ours.

Nobody said this was going to be easy and one thing we are certain about is that the Federal Governemnt and the FNI are going to put up every roadblock imagineable. However, we will persevere.

Our funding requirement for the next tranche is expected to be approximately $25,000, of which $11,000 is already in the bank representing 44% of the required amount. This means we will need to raise roughly $14,000. Our donor base has grown to nearly 500 people/families (up from 115 in December). With your generosity and the support of the Facebook group “Fundraising to Support Friends of Qalipu Legal Initiative”, it is possible to continue to move forward.

Yours in good faith,

Helen, John & Pauline


March 3, 2018

On March 2, 2018, our lawyer Mr. Keith Morgan of Brown Fitzgerald Morgan & Avis advised that the Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador has appointed the Honorable Justice William Goodridge as the Case Management Judge and the Honorable Justice Alphonsus Faour as the alternate for our file as per the attached Case Management Order.

We are very happy to have this confirmed and in place because as you know, our concern has been that the Founding Members list is amended and put through before our case is heard before the Court.

We will keep you posted as timelines are known and new information provided.

Our deep gratitude once again for your financial and moral support.
Helen, John & Pauline

VIEW THE DOCUMENTS BELOW in PDF:


February 23, 2018

On February 22, 2018, our lawyer Mr. Keith Morgan of Brown, Fitzgerald, Morgan and Avis appeared before the Honorable Justice Gillian D. Butler of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Trial division.

Mr. Morgan requested that our matter to be heard on an “URGENT BASIS” and also that it be CASE MANAGED to prevent any unnecessary delays. We are pleased to report that Mr. Morgan was successful on both fronts. We are very encouraged by this outcome.

What does this mean?
“Case Managed” means the management judge will be setting deadlines. Case management takes the issue out of the regular court system and helps expedite the process.

What happens now?

It is expected that a judge will be assigned to our matter very soon, and that we may be back in court as early as next week. We will advise as we receive more information and direction on how to share it with you.

Fundraising Update

As of today, along with auction activities being organized by our friends, we still need to raise approximately $5,000 by the end of February to meet our legal funding goal.  Please spread the word and invite others to join us in our mission for fairness and justice.  Our website address is …  www.friendsofqalipu.ca.

With respect & gratitude,
Helen, John & Pauline

VIEW THE DOCUMENTS BELOW in PDF:
Case Management Order


February 17, 2018

We are very pleased to advise that our lawyer Keith Morgan, of Browne Fitzgerald Morgan & Avis in St. John’s has secured Thursday, February 22nd @ 10:00 AM Newfoundland time for our application for injunction to be called before the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador. Our position at Court will, of course, depend upon the position taken by the parties relative to our request.

Our action in the Federal Court was discontinued on February 13th and re-commenced in the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court on February 14th.  On advice of our counsel, we decided to take this action in order to avoid procedural delays associated with jurisdictional differences of opinion with FNI counsel, Cox & Palmer, relative to the ability of the Federal Court to hear our claim.  As you may know, our initial goal is to stop the revision of the Founders List removing 10,000+ Status Members from the Indian Registry.  Nothing has changed regarding our Statement of Claim and Notice of Motion for an injunction.  Our documents have merely been revised to reflect the Newfoundland Supreme Court, that is all.  The change in Court will not affect our ability to advance our claim, rather it will actually enhance our ability to have it proceed expeditiously.

Without our donors we would not have gotten this far.  We acknowledge them with deep gratitude and invite you to join them with your support.

Sincerely,
Helen, John & Pauline


February 2, 2018

It is our pleasure to share with you that an Action has been started in the Federal Court with the filing of our Claim on Friday. The Statement of Claim and the Notice of Motion for the injunction can be found by clicking on the links above or below . Both these documents provide the basis for our Action and support our Injunction request which will be filed and a date set for hearing once the other side has been fully served on Monday morning, February 5th, in Corner Brook. Documentation for the Injunction request has already been prepared and is on its way. Once the other side have received them our counsel, Keith Morgan, from Browne Fitzgerald Morgan & Avis, of St. John’s, NL, will immediately seek a date for the hearing.

Mr. Morgan has agreed that it is the best interests of status members and applicants alike if we share these documents on social media. Like us, he believes in transparency and since these documents are public and can be found through a search, we wish to make them easily accessible to you, the people.

Over the last year, we have searched long and arduous for appropriate representation, and we now are at the door. We hope you will join the 400 donors who up to this point have supported our legal initiative to seek justice and resolution. Together, let’s find out one way or the other where we stand.

What can you do to help?

– Offer your support by making a donation to Friends of Qalipu
– Spread the word to others who have an interest
– Direct them to our website … Friends of Qalipu Webpage
– Click to join Friends of Qalipu Applicants Facebook Page

With our deepest gratitude,

Helen Darrigan, John Bouzanne, Pauline Tessier

VIEW THE DOCUMENTS BELOW in PDF:

Statement of Claim re Shawn Benoit v. FNI and HMQ

Notice of Motion


January 2, 2018

After an exhaustive and somewhat torturous search, in July of 2017 we identified a law firm out of Saskatchewan, Kanuka Thuringer LLP, and sought an independent Legal Opinion in October. This opinion gave us a few possible options to challenge the process, and nearly all involved hiring a Newfoundland litigator. In late November we identified one that we felt would provide us with independent pro-active counsel to advance our cause. By mid-December a Litigation Pathway was developed for us by the law firm Browne Fitzgerald Morgan & Avis of St. John’s, Newfoundland. Both these initiatives were funded through the generosity of approximately 115 individual donors or families across the country.

We are now into our third fundraising appeal. This time we are looking for $40,000 in the month of January of which $20,000 is required almost immediately to pursue an INJUNCTION and file a claim to strike the Supplemental Agreement. If we are successful in getting this in the courts, then it is expected that our case will extend into the late summer / early fall of 2018 and involve raising an additional $210,000. Of course we have no idea what the other side will throw at us, so timing and additional funding is an estimate only.

If you have been rejected, and especially if you or a family member are one of the 10,500+ rejected Qalipu Band Status Members, and you want to challenge this decision in court, please make a donation to our Legal Initiative as soon as possible. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE