Lack of consultation on Ring of Fire development frustrates First Nation communities – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – November 9, 2018)

Neskantaga, Eabametoong want negotiated settlement with Queen’s Park, threaten legal action

The lack of an all-inclusive provincial strategy to advance development in the Ring of Fire is frustrating two remote First Nation communities in the area of the Far North mineral deposits.

In a Nov. 9 news release, the communities of Neskantaga and Eabametoong called out the Ford government for suspending a provincially-sponsored consultation process, known as the Regional Framework Agreement, and not replacing a fired negotiator.

“This will slow the process of reaching agreement and, potentially, delay future developments in the Ring of Fire. However, we remain committed to the process and the principles already agreed,” said Neskantaga First Nation Chief Wayne Moonias in a statement.

Over the summer, the Ford government axed the province’s main negotiator in the Ring of Fire consultation process, Justice Frank Iacobucci, in a purge of former government officials appointed under the Wynne government. The Regional Framework Agreement process was initiated by the previous government in April 2014.

It was a community-based process of negotiation with the Matawa First Nations tribal council on how mining and industrial development would unfold in the James Bay lowlands, how First Nation communities would participate and benefit, and how the environment would be safeguarded.

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