EFN in the news…

Here is a collection of recent news articles featuring public articles on Eabametoong, or on issues of general interest to EFN members. Much of this will focus on attention given to the Ring of Fire and regional development, especially to highlight how these issues are spun by industry and government. More to come in this section soon:

June 2017: In this article from Northern Ontario Business, MNDM’s Christine Kaszycki provides her perspective and a high level of detail on the current status of the Regional Framework discussions, as well as the first time that the Jurisdiction Table has been publicly-discussed in media. EFN and the other Matawa-member First Nations have not publicly commented on this table to preserve the confidentiality of these important discussions. As she outlined, this group is tasked with working on governance issues and bringing back options for the Premier and Chiefs Council to discuss directly. In her words:

“It’s the job of the jurisdictional table to determine governance issues for the road, ownership and control, as well as exploration permitting, land-use planning, and general land management issues.

Kaszycki said this table is not taking the place of the Rae-led regional framework discussions. “It is our expectation that both will move forward in parallel.”

Although the article is called ‘Road Blocks to the Ring of Fire,’ this new table is regarded by many as one of the key avenues for discussing and settling some of the most contentious jurisdictional issues.

For the rest of the story, see here: https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/industry-news/mining/road-blocks-to-the-ring-of-fire-632867

May 2017: Here is an editorial from Dr. Cheryl Chetkiewicz of the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada that was published in the Toronto Star on Monday, May 29th. Cheryl outlines serious concerns over the apparent lack of attention given to cumulative effects and regional impacts by Ontario in their Ring of Fire discussions. See more here: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/05/29/ontarios-ring-of-fire-development-plan-has-major-flaws.html

May 2017: A much more balanced viewpoint on the challenges and real investment needed according to First Nations’ community development priorities prior to pushing ahead with Ring of Fire road and mineral projects. This article references a new report developed by researchers at both University of Saskatchewan and Waterloo, Heather Hall and Ken Coates.

Excerpt from the article – “(Ken)Coates adds government needs to realize that basic infrastructure development for remote communities can’t rely on specific mining projects. He says the onus shouldn’t be on Indigenous communities supporting resource development to get basic infrastructure.

“I think the basic issue is Canada needs to decide that Indigenous communities deserve the same quality and services that other Canadians take for granted,” he said. For more, see: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/ring-of-fire-first-nations-consultation-1.4120707

The full-length report by Hall and Coates is available here: http://macdonaldlaurier.ca/files/pdf/MLIAboriginalResources12-HallCoatesWeb_F.pdf

Much of the analysis from the recent report illustrates points made by Chief Atlookan publicly in 2016 in the articles referenced below, and with EFN and Matawa Chiefs Council negotiation documents from as far back as 2014. 

May 2017: Following meeting with EFN and Matawa FN Chiefs on May 1, Premier Wynne pressures the Chiefs to make ‘decision’ on infrastructure to access some of the $1B mentioned in her 2014 campaign promise on the Ring of Fire. Though the First Nations have made legitimate proposals on how to work together, including with Ontario, on detailed road planning processes, this current pressure is to make corridor decisions before knowing all the relevant facts, and is contrary to the principles that EFN and other First Nations have been developing for working with their communities on major developments: http://www.netnewsledger.com/2017/05/12/premier-wynne-ring-fire-matawa-first-nations/

August 2016: EFN clarifies position on community roads and plans for working together with other remote First Nations to gather vital information and THEN make community decisions together on corridors and governance of infrastructure, not simply assuming that building roads will improve life for everyone in the community. Despite recent pressure to decide first, then see how it goes, EFN is committed to a community-based process: http://www.netnewsledger.com/2016/08/31/navigating-ring-fire-road-map-will-lead-regional-planning/

August 2016: EFN Enters Regional Negotiations with Ontario (community video from 2014, online publicly now): https://youtu.be/DdArKElrT6Q

April 2016: ‘We need to be whole’ to benefit from mining development, Eabametoong chief tells Carolyn Bennett: http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/thunder-bay/first-nations-suicides-mining-carolyn-bennett-1.3541419

April 2016: Getting it Right, Rather than Getting It Soon. Editorial from Chief Atlookan on EFN’s interest in doing the right thing for the long term health and prosperity of all membership  – http://www.netnewsledger.com/2016/04/07/ring-of-fire-getting-it-right-rather-than-getting-it-soon/

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