Ontario First Nation argues province has no jurisdiction on treaty lands
A ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada on Friday will help determine who controls resource extraction across much of the country.
Grassy Narrows First Nation, north of Kenora, Ont., is arguing that the province does not have the right to issue logging or mining permits on its traditional lands.
“After years of trying to get the [forest] industry and the minister of natural resources to take it easy on the forest, we decided to launch a court case,” said trapper J.B. Fobister, one of the plaintiffs in the case that was launched in 2000.
Fobister said many people in Grassy Narrows need the forest to make a living. He estimates he makes up to $10,000 a year trapping pine marten. Some families rely on moose as a major food source.
But Fobister said industrial logging in the area interferes with all of that. “If you have no forest, you don’t have animals,” he said. “We need to see some benefits from the destruction of our homeland. There is no plan to replace what is taken from us.”