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2012-05-06 at 11:29

Aroland First Nation files freedom of information act

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Aroland First Nation has filed a freedom of information act, saying the Ontario government and Cliffs Natural Resources have been holding confidential meetings.

Aroland filed a request for disclosure to the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines for information relating to Cliffs’ chromite mining project in the Ring of Fire.

The request was filed after Aroland officials say it came to light the province and Cliffs were having confidential meetings, concealing information and preparing to make an announcement.

“We need to find out what has been going on behind closed doors. Our community it going to be impacted by the Cliffs project along with many others, but we were not part of these meetings, nor were local municipalities,” said Aroland Chief Sonny Gagnon in a release issued Friday.

“They are deciding the future for everyone in Northwestern Ontario without consulting any of us,” said Gagnon, adding it would be a breach of their constitutional rights under section 35 of the Canadian Constitution Act, 1980.

The act guarantees First Nations the right to be consulted and accommodated on matters that affect them and their traditional lands.

“This is exactly why a Comprehensive Environmental Assessment does not work for First Nation. We want a negotiated Joint Review Panel. We want to fully participate. We want to protect our land, our people and exercise our Aboriginal treaty rights,” said Gagnon.

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