Ontario Premier Wynne cut “backroom” Ring of Fire deals: Chief – by Jorge Barrera (APTN National News – August 25, 2017)


Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne cut a side deal with three Ring of Fire First Nations after her negotiators failed to force through a wider agreement with other communities involved in long-running talks on the future of the chromite and nickel-rich region in the James Bay lowlands of Treaty 9 territory, according to Neskantaga Chief Wayne Moonias.

Moonias, whose community is one of nine First Nations involved in negotiations on the Ring of Fire development in northern Ontario, said he received notice through an email late last week that the province wanted to sign an agreement with all nine First Nations on jurisdiction this past Tuesday. Provincial officials did not provide the text of the proposed accord until they were pushed to cough up a copy, he said.

The text of the agreement was vague on planned legislative and regulatory changes to guarantee First Nation input and involvement in the Ring of Fire development, but it offered concrete timelines on construction of roads and the development of a mine by Noront Resources Ltd., said Moonias.

“It was vague on the recognition of our Indigenous rights and how we would create legislative change as per our discussions with the premier on three different occasions,” said Moonias. “We were trying to develop a relationship that was going to change the way we were going to do things today, change it for the better, where our people are involved in these processes. This is totally the opposite of what we had envisioned for our community and our community is frustrated and disappointed.”

Moonias said his community balked at the hastily arranged signing, partly because of the vagueness of the jurisdictional issue in the document and also because it did not allow for the full input from Neskantaga members before a final decision.

For the rest of this article: http://aptnnews.ca/2017/08/25/ontario-premier-wynne-cut-backroom-ring-of-fire-deals-chief/