Three First Nation chiefs contend COVID-19 and the safety of their communities are more pressing issues right now than Premier Doug Ford’s legislative agenda to develop the Far North.
Marten Falls’ Bruce Achneepineskum, Webequie’s Cornelius Wabasse and Eabametoong’s Harvey Yesno are rejecting the province’s Jan. 14 deadline for taking comments on coming revisions to the Far North Act.
In a joint statement last week, the chiefs said despite the outbreak of the pandemic last March, the Queen’s Park bureaucracy has pressed on with legislative, policy and regulatory changes that put the interests of government, industry and investors ahead of the area communities.
With the state of emergency called, the nine-member Matawa Chiefs Council are calling on the premier and Natural Resources Minister John Yakabuski to “cease all activities that impact the rights and interests” of their member communities until after the pandemic is over.
Two of the three communities – Marten Falls and Webequie – are provincial partners on the access roads leading into the coveted Ring of Fire mineral belt in the James Bay region.