When the chief of Cat Lake First Nation gave a button to Ontario’s minister of Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development, he apologized. “This is what the activities up until now have amounted to,” said Chief Russell Wesley to Greg Rickford. “I told him: ‘It’s on. I’m sorry, but it had to come to this and here’s a button.’”
The button, presented by Wesley to Rickford, was displayed Wednesday in a Cat Lake First Nation press release. It shows lynx standing tall over a caricature of Ontario Premier Doug Ford on a bulldozer. The art is a dig at Ford’s promise to develop mining in the North, even if he had to “hop on a bulldozer myself.”
“Cat Lake First Nation Strong. Defend Land and Culture,” the button says, setting up a faceoff between Cat Lake leadership and the provincial government over the proposed Springpole gold mine. The proposal, spearheaded by the junior mining company First Mining, sits on Cat Lake First Nation’s traditional territory.
Now Cat Lake leadership is voicing its opposition to Queen’s Park over failing in their duty to consult, conduct proper environmental assessments and keep treaty obligations.