A deadline to consult nine First Nation communities within 30 days on a new mining act is unacceptable, say the chiefs of Matawa First Nations.
The chiefs claim the Oct. 15 deadline set by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines is unrealistic.
Webequie First Nation Chief Scott Jacob called Wednesday for education and information at the community level about changes to the 100-year-old act.
“Our people need to understand the existing policies so they can better evaluate any proposed changes,” Jacob, who is spokesman for Matawa First Nations, said in a news release.
“The entire process simply cannot be facilitated in this timeframe and particularly if Ontario wants the outcome to be successful and meaningful for all,” he said.
“Matters concerning the use of our traditional lands are of high importance to our people.
“Too many mistakes happen when things are rushed . . . history shows us that,” he said.
Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle said he‘s grateful Matawa representatives attended the three public consultations held across the province in August and September.
“I do understand that they feel there is a need for more time and we want to have discussions with them on exactly that,” Gravelle said in an interview Wednesday.
“I can‘t, at this stage, say what that will be in terms of time, but I do understand the need to try to find a compromise that works for both of us.
“I am keen to find a solution that is workable,” he said.
He said consultations with First Nations on the act is “absolutely vital and extremely important. I hope we can find a way to meet the needs of Matawa, but at the same time we‘d like to move forward with the legislation in a timely fashion.”
Matawa First Nations is a tribal council comprised of nine Nishnawbe-Aski Nation communities: Aroland, Constance Lake, Eabametoong, Ginoogaming, Long Lake No. 58, Marten Falls, Neskantaga, Nibinamik and Webequie.
See article at Chronicle Journal
By Jim Kelly