After lithium mine approval, Ontario-based Cree want a seat at the table for environmental assessments of mining in the province – by Matteo Cimellaro (National Observer – January 18, 2023)

Lawrence Martin wishes the Cree nations on the western coast of James Bay had the same relationship with Ontario as the Eeyou Istchee have with Quebec.

Earlier this week, Ottawa approved a new lithium mine near the Eastmain Cree community in Quebec with caveats, including 271 environmental protections designed in conjunction with the project’s Indigenous neighbours.

Martin, who is the marine regional manager for the Mushkegowuk Council, representing eight Cree nations in Ontario, envied what his counterparts in Quebec were able to secure. It’s a different story in Ontario, where Doug Ford’s government is repealing environmental protections to open up the province’s northern region for mining.

Martin’s nations are staring down the barrel of Ontario’s largest planned mining development with the Ring of Fire. The northern Ontario region is home to proposed mining developments that will be accompanied by a new highway through carbon-rich peatlands.

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