Matawa Chiefs call out province’s ‘exploitive, aggressive’ mine building strategy – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – April 3, 2023)

James Bay treaty chiefs accuse province of lack of consultation in overhaul of Mining Act

An Indigenous leadership group from the Northwest and Far North is objecting to the Ford government’s “legislative bulldozer” attempt to put more mines into production faster.

Bill 71, the Building More Mines Act, is getting some blowback from the Matawa Chiefs Council, a Thunder Bay-headquartered alliance of both road-accessible and remote communities in a region that’s exploding with exploration activity and includes the undeveloped mineral-rich Ring of Fire area.

The quickened pace by which the Ford government wants to approve more new mines has drawn the wrath of other First Nation communities, which took their beef to Queen’s Park last week. On the same week public consultation sessions on Bill 71 are scheduled for Sudbury and Timmins, the Matawa Chiefs Council issued a “unified political statement” about a month after Mines Minister George Pirie tabled the bill in the Ontario legislature in early March.

In a news release, the leaders say the government’s approach with this bill is “exploitive and aggressive” and runs contrary to the principles of reconciliation and the spirit and intent of James Bay Treaty No. 9.

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