Timmins Chamber of Commerce wants clarity for relationship between private sector and First Nations – by Alan S. Hale (Timmins Daily Press – September 25, 2016)


Two policy positions proposed by the Timmins Chamber of Commerce to be added to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s federal lobbying efforts passed with the near-unanimous support of delegates at a national conference held in Regina this past weekend.

The issues the Timmins Chamber wants the federal government to be pressured to address are climate change’s impact on the winter roads system, and clarifying what exactly is expected of private companies when it comes to dealing with First Nations. Manager of policy, Nick Stewart, was one of two chamber of commerce employees to travel to Saskatchewan to pitch the policy positions to other delegates – who voted to approve both proposals with 98% in favour.

“There were 140 chambers from across Canada on hand,” said Stewart. “We’re convinced that these policies are not just good for us, they’re good for everyone from Red Deer to Fredericton … There are a lot of issues specific to Northern Ontario that we would love to push at the federal level, but if you can’t translate that to some broader national impact, you’re not going to get any support at all.”

The first is to push the government to look more closely into what climate change will mean for winter road systems across Canada. Many remote communities depend on ice roads to allow ground access to the wider world in the winter, including communities along the James Bay coast.

But its not just communities that need these roads, said Stewart, companies operating in northern regions depend on them too.

“De Beers is a great example. You have this billion-dollar operation in our back yard that affects lots of communities. It’s about time that the federal government sits down and takes a look at this because we hear anecdotally from these communities and businesses that climate change is keeping these roads closed into January and February in some year,” he said. “The government needs to make this a priority.”

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.timminspress.com/2016/09/25/timmins-chamber-of-commerce-wants-clarity-for-relationship-between-private-sector-and-first-nations