ONTARIO NDP NEWS RELEASE: First Nations injunction win shows why Province must consult: Vanthof

[John Vanthof is the MPP for Timiskaming – Cochrane]

January 4, 2011

TEMISKAMING SHORES — Today, after Wahgoshig First Nation won an injunction to prevent a junior mining company, Solid Gold Resources, from continuing exploration on Wahgoshig territory without proper consultation, Timiskaming – Cochrane MPP John Vanthof strongly criticized the McGuinty government’s failure to fulfill its obligations to consult with First Nations. 

“By ignoring First Nations at the outset of the exploration process, the government is in fact slowing down mine development and hindering economic opportunities throughout the province,” added Vanthof. “It benefits all Northerners to ensure resource development is done in a way that maximises economic benefits and sustainability for local communities. That means better consultation and accommodation from the outset, not lengthy legal battles.”

“Lack of action from the government forced Wahgoshig First Nation to appeal to the courts to settle a dispute which could have been avoided altogether through proper consultation,” said Vanthof.

Vanthof pointed to a letter from the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry on November 8, 2011 which acknowledged that consultation regarding Solid Gold’s exploration program had been inadequate and urged the company to suspend its drilling. However, the Ministry stopped short of actually enforcing compliance, forcing Wahgoshig to take legal action.

“The government knows fully well its obligation to ensure that proper consultation takes place, however, it only pays lip service to this commitment instead of taking action,” said Vanthof.

“Let this be a lesson to the government that the North and First Nations deserve better and fairer development policies that take into account the interests of Northerners,” concluded Vanthof.


Media contact: Andrew Schwab, 416-671-4138