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Former Supreme Court of Canada justice Frank Iacobucci is Ontario’s lead negotiator dealing with First Nations in Ring of Fire development.
Queen’s Park has turned to veteran jurist Frank Iacobucci to be the province’s lead negotiator in Ring of Fire resource development talks with Matawa Tribal Council chiefs.
Referred to as one of most promising mineral developments in Ontario in almost a century, the resource rich Ring of Fire, 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, includes the largest North American deposit of chromite, a key ingredient used in stainless steel.
“I hope we can get an agreement . . . to have the involvement and participation of the First Nations in a fair and honourable and equitable manner,” the former Supreme Court of Canada justice told the Star after his appointment was made public Tuesday.
“This is not a quick fix and it has got to be the right fix,” he said. “This is a huge opportunity for economic development for the province, for the (mining) companies and . . . for the First Nations people.”
Iacobucci is no stranger to native issues, having earlier this year delivered a scathing report that concluded the Ontario justice system is in a “crisis” with First Nations people overrepresented in prisons, yet cut out of participating in juries.
He spent more than a year leading an investigation into the lack of native participation on jury trials and inquests and determined “systemic racism” was a major factor in many aspects of the justice system.
Iacobucci, former chair of the Torstar board of directors, will report directly to Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle.
“We want development to deliver social and economic benefits for all Ontarians, while collaborating with First Nations and ensuring environmental responsibility. I am confident that Mr. Iacobucci will help ensure that everyone benefits from the economic and social opportunities of this unprecedented natural resource,” Gravelle stated.
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