March 22, 2023
Ontario is ignoring its duty to consult First Nations
France Gélinas, MPP for Nickel Belt, rose in the legislature this morning to point out the Ford government’s duty to properly consult with the First Nation’s communities based in Ontario.
“Speaker, this morning, I was on the phone with Gimaa Craig Nootchtai, the Chief of Atikameksheng Anishinabek. His people’s traditional territories are home to almost all the mines in Nickel Belt; mines that play a big part in paying for this government’s upcoming budget. Gimaa Nootchtai and his council were invited to an information session on Bill 71: The Building More Mines Act. They put a lot of time and efforts preparing for this information session, as Bill 71 will have multi-generational implications for their people. Gimaa Nootchtai and his team were shocked when the government declared after the start of the information session that this virtual meeting was actually a consultation session. That meeting was the government’s idea of satisfying its duty to consult with First Nations on Bill 71. Gimaa Nootchtai said, and I quote: “I told them that “consultation” should have started when the proposed changes were first conceptualized so that we could truly participate in drafting legislation that directly affects our lands and rights.”
This government has a duty to consult First Nations, why are they not taking their responsibilities seriously? Why is it, that this government seems bound and determined to continue to treat First Nation people with such disrespect? This must change, when will this government consult with Atikameksheng Anishinabek on the changes to the mining act?”
According to the Ford government Bill 71, Building More Mines Act, 2023 will make opening a new mine faster and cheaper.