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2013-12-05 at 13:18

A decade away

By Jamie Smith,
Be Bob's Friend: Join our FacebookEverything is COZIER, WARMER, SEXIER, with a fireplace. Stylish Luxury meets functional heating at Bob's Intelligent Heating DecorClick Here

It will be at least a decade before development in the Ring of Fire begins, predicts one strategist.

An expert on First Nations, government and corporate relations in resource development, Bill Gallagher said nothing is going to happen in the Ring of Fire until there is major progress from the province when it comes to First Nations support.

Author of the recently published "Resource Rulers" Gallagher, who is also a lawyer, highlights 150 court cases in Canada that have been a battleground over resource development and First Nations are the victor. While other provinces have caught on to the notion that nothing will happen without the backing of First Nations, Ontario is stuck in a time warp.

"The Ontario public has to get informed and get up to speed as to how much ground this province has lost vis-a-vis other provinces in dealing in a sophisticated and strategic manner in dealing with the rise of native empowerment," he said Thursday morning after a speech during the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining and Exploration conference at Lakehead University.

The fact that Nishnawbe Aski Nation hasn't even begun to be consulted doesn't bode well for the project so far. He's hoping Matawa Tribal Council takes the lead but it won't be enough Gallagher said.

"The next five years are gone," he said estimating it will take at least that amount of time, working round the clock to get written agreements in place. "It's delusional to think that you can do this deal with just nine First Nations (Matawa)."

Matawa's lead negotiator Bob Rae, who kicked off the conference, said he continues to meet with provincial lead Frank Iacobucci stressing the importance of sustainable development, socially, environmentally and economically that need to be part of the overall framework agreement. As for a timeline, Rae could only say that they're working hard at it.

"We're moving along but we're not negotiating in public. We've agreed to keep talking privately," Rae said.

Rae said the development will happen eventually but it needs to be done right. Rushing into resource development, history shows, is bad for the environment and the people around it.

"The price has been an almost complete marginalization of First Nations people from the world of economic prosperity," he said.

As for Cliffs Natural Resources' decision to suspend all of its work in the region, Rae said there will always be another company that wants to develop the area. If the infrastructure is built and the issues are addressed, they will come.

"Minerals don't go stale," he said.

The province recently announced the idea of a development corporation to speed things up in the region but Gallagher thinks it's a deflection from the province, which he said knew the Cliffs decision was coming. He doesn't see any budget, resources or staff attached to the development corporation and seems similar to other government offices already in place.

"I'm not sure what it's supposed to do that the Ring of Fire secretariat was supposed to do," he said.

The best thing that could happen in the Ring of Fire might be to start all over again he said with consultation protocols and joint-venture agreements in place.

The conference continues Friday.

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We've improved our comment system.
CM Punk says:
As each day, month and year goes by and the news keeps talking about this, the more pathetic this whole thing sounds.
Very sad indeed.
12/5/2013 6:13:23 PM
Sleepin Giant says:
"Minerals don't go stale..."

True...and people grow old and die while prominent politicians "continue to work with" and accomplish nothing.

"The best thing that could happen in the Ring of Fire might be to start all over again..."

I agree.

We'll start with the ballot box.
12/5/2013 6:33:42 PM
unknowncronik says:
"The best thing that could happen in the Ring of Fire might be to start all over again"

-->should have used this advice with the marina
12/5/2013 6:45:45 PM
sky high says:
What? The marina is a great place and is well worth the money that went into it. I suppose you liked it better when there was no one down there except a few old ducks waiting for you to throw them some bread?
12/6/2013 7:47:42 AM
Miles August says:
"well worth the money"? Tens of millions of tax payer dollars spent and VERY LITTLE has changed for the "old" marina! Re directing the road, building a skate park, and erecting a couple of basically useless buildings is not "worth" what it cost in tax dollars!
12/10/2013 2:19:27 AM
jonthunder says:
Well said. Mattawa First Nations are a part of Treaty 9, they do not represent all of Treaty 9, those First Nations and their collective rights. Let this be a sobering wake-up call for all parties; including Bob Rae and the Ontario negotiator, and their role in this unfolding movie. Above all, Ontario needs to accept the wake-call it has been jolted with, face reality, and get down to serious business. Ontario has dithered on this development issue for a good 5 years now, and achieved nothing.
12/5/2013 7:28:03 PM
barry medawin says:
some of us will keep fighting to stop this raiding of the lands!
12/5/2013 8:50:43 PM
lori says:
yes yes yes nothing will happen until Mr. Gallagher is hired to represent those interests with the province.

I am not defending anyone here, but this canned criticism is rather lame. He may be correct but if the answers were so simple, then why not get it done. Have the province give everyone everything they want and reap the benefits of the development.

I find it hard to know who believe. Those who say we should be way farther along or those who are not surprised that Cliff's pulled out at this time and won't be surprised when they come back.

Where I will criticize is in getting hopes up too soon and too high but our Minister has an incredibly tough time in telling anyone that things are not always rosy.
12/5/2013 9:32:50 PM
brooky says:
Phhhhttt... Like your Liberal party opinion means anything.
12/5/2013 11:08:38 PM
lori says:
and here I was actually criticizing the Liberal minister but better to shoot the messenger eh brooky??

Many stories are now on this site.

Is the Ring of Fire a great thing or just hype because we have both being posted on this website.

I will agree that if this is truly the tar sands of the north, we have the wrong man at the helm. If it is the promised land, we need someone who will just get it done and I don't see Mike as that guy, as much as I like what he has done for T.Bay.

Oh right, I am just a liberal lover-------

pointing out that we have had more support, investment, jobs and money brought here by these two MPP's than at any other time in our history while totally factual, is irrelevant to those who simply want to howl at the moon.

Forgot that for a second.

still waiting for the other political supporters to criticize their party, but then that might be asking a bit too much.
12/7/2013 1:21:44 PM
unionbay880 says:
"give everyone everything they want and reap the benefits of the development". The problem is that. No one knows what they want and if they do they change their mind once they see what the next reservation is getting. Here is the perfect chance for prosperity and hope for future generations of first nations involved. Sit down and negotiate the deal that is best for the future, not the big cash right now. Or tell them to get lost this is never going to happen.
12/6/2013 8:18:13 AM
nvjgu says:
Ring of fire, I don't think so. You can't even put a construction trailer there with out it sinking.
12/6/2013 3:43:24 AM
DougMyers says:
Everytime something about the ring of fire comes up you try to sound smart by posting the same uninformed garbage. We get it, you have nothing useful to contribute.

You do realize that your same "logic," and I use that term loosely, can be applied to all of Fort William right?
12/6/2013 11:13:50 AM
Jon Powers says:
sky high:

" What? The marina is a great place and is well worth the money that went into it. I suppose you liked it better when there was no one down there except a few old ducks waiting for you to throw them some bread? "

Just remember Sky High that your new marina Cost Tax Payers over $83.5Million. Plus $700,000.00 a year in new taxes to operate.

I'm sure you don't mind new "Sky High" Taxes.

The majority of Thunder Bay does!

Finially just remember that both senior levels of government don't have any new money for this important project. It was Thunder Bay who took it away from them to build our "Miss-take By The Lake" as a gift to local businesses.

It's just a very sad state of affairs when both Ottawa and Toronto have such short sightedness and don't want new high paying jobs.

Great Story!
12/6/2013 12:56:10 PM
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