First Nations leaders removed from legislature after protesting mining development – by (The Trilliam – Aidan Chamandy – March 29, 2023)

It was the second time this month that leaders from the Neskantaga First Nation were at Queen’s Park to ask for a meeting with Premier Doug Ford.

Two First Nations leaders were removed from the Queen’s Park chamber on Wednesday after disrupting question period over what they say is a government trampling on their rights by speeding ahead with mining developments.

Neskantaga Chief Wayne Moonias and incoming chief Chris Moonias were sitting in the visitors’ gallery during question period when NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa asked Premier Doug Ford if the government would stop moving forward with its plans to develop the Ring of Fire over some First Nations’ objections.

Northern Development and Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford fielded the questions directed at Ford. After Mamakwa asked one of his questions, both Wayne and Chris Moonias erupted, saying there will be no Ring of Fire without Neskantaga’s free, prior, and informed consent and demanding a meeting with the premier, and the premier alone.

The Ring of Fire is a mineral-rich area in northern Ontario key to the provincial and federal government’s economic development policies that played a big part in the Progressive Conservatives’ 2022 election platform. It contains several deposits of minerals like cobalt and chromite, used for modern manufacturing of things like electric vehicles and cell phones. The Ontario government has already earmarked nearly $1 billion for developing the road to the remote area.

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