June 23, 2022 Tribal, Legal, Land Based

Scugog Island First Nation enters mediation regarding Great Blue Heron Casino

By

The Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation seeks relief from the government due to alleged agreement violations.

The Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation or MSIFN is entering mediation with Queen’s Park over concerns surrounding Durham's newest casino. The MSIFN spoke against the opening of the Pickering Casino Resort in 2021.

Officials stated: "MSIFN is seeking relief for the government’s decision to open new gaming facilities near the Great Blue Heron Casino, without providing consultation, despite its duty to do so under Section 35 of Canada’s Constitution Act."

The officials then added: "The discussions are centered around claims of agreement violations, bad faith negotiations, and failures to provide consultation related to gaming."

The new gaming facility in question was opened near the Great Blue Heron Casino. The casino is located on Scugog Island, just east of the community of Port Perry, Ontario. Both the Casino and the land it is built on are owned by the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

Chief Kelly LaRocca of MSIFN said: "Since meeting with senior government officials three years ago, we have welcomed the opportunity to settle our concerns with the province."

She continued: "We see a glimmer of hope now that they have agreed to mediation. We respect the mediation process and are eager to achieve a fair agreement with the government. Our council looks forward to addressing these longstanding issues in a fair and prompt way."

Not long ago, MSIFN officials spoke out against the province's online gambling market. Concerns arose that online gaming would impose on revenue earned by the Great Blue Heron Casino. 

The release from MSIFN stated: "The government’s decision will devastate MSIFN’s economy and set back decades of community development efforts."

Still, iGaming in Ontario launched on April 4 which permitted companies to operate their own gaming and betting websites.

In regards to this, LaRocca said: "The government completely and utterly failed to consult our First Nation – leaving their iGaming launch open to constitutional challenge."

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