Ontario ignores its own advice, presses First Nations to consult on Ring of Fire road during COVID-19 – by Jody Porter (CBC News Thunder Bay – October 15, 2020)


An ‘operational guide’ from Ontario’s Ministry of Indigenous Affairs tells other ministries to delay or defer non-urgent projects that impact First Nations treaty rights during the pandemic, but at least one mining-related project is moving ahead.

On Oct. 13, the consultation period for part of the environmental assessment for a supply road in the Ring of Fire mineral development region in northern Ontario was set to close, despite concerns raised by Neskantaga First Nation. It told the provincial government in September that it could not engage in the process in a meaningful way because of the pandemic.

Advancing resource extraction projects during a pandemic is an example of governments and industry using health crisis in First Nations to their advantage, according to Riley Yesno, a research fellow at the Yellowhead Institute.

“This weaponization of the health crisis that is happening in these communities and the weaponization of this terrible thing that’s going on is a way to get their desired projects put through,” said Yesno, who is a member of Eabametoong First Nation, which is also impacted by the Ring of Fire development.

During his 2018 election campaign, Premier Doug Ford said “if I have to hop on that bulldozer myself… we’re going to start building the roads to get to the mining” in the Ring of Fire.

For the rest of this article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/first-nation-consultation-covid-1.5761963

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