Playing politics with resource revenue sharing – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – May 17, 2018)

Northwestern Ontario municipal leader wants mining, forestry benefits deal for all Northern communities

Resource revenue sharing is on the minds of Ontario’s three provincial leadership hopefuls as they roll through Northern Ontario during the election. Allowing First Nations to benefit from mining and forestry operations on their traditional land has been a contentious and unresolved issue for many years.

The Wynne Liberal government revealed a potential landmark deal – pending their re-election – by announcing that agreements had been signed with three First Nations organizations, representing 32 communities across the North.

Lauding the deals as “the first of their kind,” the Liberals said the partnering First Nations will receive 45 per cent of government revenues from forestry stumpage, 40 per cent of the annual mining tax and royalties from active mines, and 45 per cent from future mines in the areas covered by the agreements.

Three agreements were negotiated with Grand Council Treaty No. 3, Wabun Tribal Council and Mushkegowuk Council. Those organizations administer the funds which must be plugged into economic development, education, health, community and cultural projects.

If the Wynne government returns, the agreements would go into effect in the fall of 2019. Wendy Landry, president of the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) applauded the signatory communities, calling it a “long time coming.”

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