Higher expectations [for Ring of Fire] – by Jeff Labine (tbnewswatch.com – June 21, 2013)


Ontario has hired a secretariat for the lead negotiator of the Ring of Fire, even though the province still doesn’t actually have a lead negotiator.

Christine Kaszycki took on the job of being province’s Ring of Fire secretariat back in 2010. Since then, Matawa First Nation engaged former MP Bob Rae to act as a mediator with the province during the negotiations.

Rae announced that he would be retiring from politics in order to focus on his responsibilities as Matawa’s Ring of Fire negotiator.

MPP Bill Mauro (Lib. Thunder Bay – Atikokan) said Rae stepping down has put more pressure on the province to find its lead negotiator. “It certainly heightened expectations,” he said. “There’s a commitment from the province that we appoint someone as well who can have a similar role.”

Mauro said the negotiator wouldn’t just work with Matawa, but with all areas impacted by the Ring of Fire development. That includes the private interests. While the secretariat does negotiate, Mauro said there are high expectations for the province to do more and to have more focused approached.

“We’re trying to move it forward,” he said. “I think you’re likely to hear something one way or the other in the not too distant future.”

The Northern Cabinet Committee, which Mauro chairs, is expected to meet in the summer months. Mauro suspects picking a negotiator will be one of the topics that they discuss.