Iacobucci visits Matawa communities – by Shawn Bell (Wawatay News – July 24, 2013)


Ontario’s Ring of Fire negotiator, Justice Frank Iacobucci, made his first visits to Matawa communities last week in what he said was a chance to see the communities, meet community members and leaders and get a better sense of what the issues facing Matawa communities are.

“I want to show respect to the First Nations, by visiting and explaining what my mandate is, and also so they know who I am,” Iacobucci said. “We want to ensure we have good lines of communication.”

Iacobucci, who most recently completed a report on the underrepresentation of First Nations people on provincial jury rolls, was named Ontario’s Ring of Fire negotiator in June. The Matawa First Nations have contracted former Liberal leader Bob Rae to negotiate with Iacobucci on their behalf.

On July 18 Iacobucci and Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle travelled to Neskantaga. They had previously visited Marten Falls and Eabametoong. Iacobucci said he hopes to be invited to visit all Matawa communities before formal negotiations start.

He also said that he expects negotiations to begin soon, and that he has already had “many contacts” with Rae to this point.