First Nations forge alliance as Ontario’s rush for critical minerals sparks alarm – by Naimul Karim (Financial Post – February 2, 2023)

Calling on Premier Doug Ford to end ‘free entry system’ for miners into their territories

Canada’s recent push to speed up mining permits and boost exploration for minerals such as lithium and nickel, needed to feed the growing demand for electric vehicles, have led to concerns among some First Nations that the Ontario government is providing miners with “easy access” to their homelands without proper consent.

Leaders of Ontario’s Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), Wapekeka, Neskantaga, and Asubpeeschoseewagong Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows) First Nations whose combined homelands cover about 60,000 square kilometres — about 100 times bigger than Toronto — formed an alliance this week to confront what they call an “attack” by Ontario on their communities.

In a statement, they called on Ontario Premier Doug Ford to meet with them and end the “free entry system” for miners in their communities.

“They are worried about the new justification for mining, that it’s green and it’s kind of like part of the energy transition,” said Dayna Scott, an adviser to the Neskantaga First Nation, who is also director of the environmental justice and sustainability clinic at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.

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