Tbnewswatch Local News
Thursday July 2 2015
6:59 PM EDT
2014-03-17 at 17:05

'Systemic issue'

Fort William First Nation chief Georjann Morriseau
Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
Fort William First Nation chief Georjann Morriseau
By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com

When it comes to natural resources, First Nations and other levels of governments are suffering from a communication breakdown.

That has been made quite clear to Fort William First Nation chief Georjann Morriseau during the First Nation’s often difficult and tenuous struggle with Horizon Wind  Inc. regarding the proposed Big Thunder Wind Park.

Addressing the judicial review recently filed by Fort William First Nation against multiple provincial ministries, Morriseau said similar issues are taking place across the country and they are only going to get worse if no action is taken.

“Over the course of the last few years it’s been a constant battle with our First Nations people trying to assert their rights and their jurisdictions on their own natural resources. Trying to sit at those tables and negotiate as equals has been like pulling teeth,” Morriseau said from her office on Monday.

“It’s a systemic issue and the same issues with Horizon are relevant to First Nations in the Ring of Fire or other First Nations who are battling with proponents coming into their territory. .. it’s something that’s going to come to a head if we don’t do something about it.”
The first step, she says, is acknowledging the legal significance of agreements, such as the Robinson Superior Treaty, and the rights they gives First Nations to assert jurisdiction on the land.

There shouldn’t be a need for judicial reviews when dealing with legal precedents that have been in place since 1850, she added.

The First Nation announced earlier this month they were filing a judicial review against the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, stating the province has the sole responsibility to consult with them and failed to do so when Horizon Wind’s Renewable Energy Approval was accepted.

They are asking for Horizon to stop all work on the project.

The First Nation claims Crown correspondence has indicated there will be no consultation with communities on the lease of undeveloped land before approving them for development.

According to a letter from Ministry of the Environment’s environmental approval branch manager Ian Parrott to Fort William First Nation’s lawyer Chantelle Bryson, there has been adequate consultation.

“As such we cannot agree that consultation with Fort William First Nation has never happened or that it is only now commencing,” the letter reads.

Earlier this month Horizon community and public affairs director Kathleen MacKenzie said the company feels its has met its obligation to consult and the 16-turbine project is in the technical review phase.

There is no work being currently done at the site.

The chief says there has been no consultation with Horizon or the government since meetings held in November.

The review is pending.

Click here to submit a letter to the editor.

Click here to report a typo or error



We've improved our comment system.
jonthunder says:
Just as there is a duty to consul, there is a duty to be consulted; how those duties interact and the outcomes are determined is an issue.
3/18/2014 9:08:04 AM
Watchmaker says:
The problem with the Treaties is that there seems to have been a fair bit "lost in translation" between the time the the negotiations took place and the time the treaties were actually drawn up. The oral accounts of the First Nations should not be entirely discredited here, as the preparation of the actual piece of paper along with the language, terms and conditions lay entirely in the hands of non-native government representatives. Arguably, it was not a balanced process.
3/18/2014 8:11:02 AM
joey joe joe jr. shabadoo says:
Ask Leif Ericson....
3/18/2014 6:54:01 AM
Ranma says:
The Robinson Treaty says they do not have to be consulted. Sorry.
3/18/2014 1:49:29 AM
reese says:
The biggest concern for FWFN should be for fire protection Wind generators are known for for over heating and catching fire This should also be a concern of all people in the area
3/17/2014 9:31:59 PM
caesarjbasquitti says:
As a citizen of Thunder Bay, my observation is that our government representative are 'not listening' to us either...seems an abuse of power by those in power.

The wind project on the mountain appears a lack of repect for the natural beauty of this area in favor of some commercial interests.

The project could have been built in some other area, where the negative impact on other factors would have been minimized. The person or persons responsible for that decision did not 'HONESTLY' consult the various groups, for suggestions, and alternatives.

The waterfront shows how the new structures will obstruct the parkland setting, removed many, many trees, and have corrupted the view of the building across the street. Mr. Larry Hebert, warned of the congestion in the waterfront area; I agree with him as did so many who organized against the decision.

The situation faced by Fort William First Nation chief Georjann Morriseau is the same we all seem to be encountering; an abuse of power.
3/17/2014 9:27:52 PM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
...long ago they were unique, and looked cool as a symbol of environmentalism. After a while, they become just another eyesore...now they just annoyingly symbolize guvmint corruption and waste. It's all in the perception. The empty hockey box will look cool too, for a while, to all those busloads of tourists from the Casino...
3/18/2014 7:30:17 AM
The truth sucks says:
The Crown has a duty to consult with First Nations whenever it infringes/impacts or potentially infringes/impacts Aboriginal/Treaty rights. The problem with consultation is that it is the government's duty to consult and they pass this obligation to industry players with very vague guidelines or leadership. The government created this mess and they are unwilling to help fix it.
3/17/2014 9:27:31 PM
anvil of crom says:
Look at this story http://www.wawataynews.ca/archive/all/2011/6/9/wind-farm-idea-not-sitting-well-nearby-first-nation_21530
Horizon consulted FWFN in 2011, they set up a meeting at the Fort William First Nations Community Centre.
AT the meeting it was stated " Community members stood up at the beginning of the meeting and prevented Horizon representatives from delivering their presentation " .
Last sentence "The company was also concerned that its project coordinator was denied the opportunity to make a presentation at the meeting explaining the project, its location and its potential impacts."
SO were FWFN consulted ?? How do you consult if people wont let you?
One thing for sure FWFN has gotten their politicking down pat.

3/17/2014 8:48:00 PM
Waldo Lydecker says:
Im not in favour of horizon and their tactics.

However demanding more consultation in this case is downright stupid. As well, traditional land is not FN land.

Georgann, don't tell us what to do and we wont tell you what to do. If you really want to feel disenfranchised buy a house in Thunder Bay, pay our taxes, then be prepared for council to ignore you completely.
3/17/2014 7:46:09 PM
ibrando says:
Are you sure you want to bring up the Robinson Superior Treaty? Its nice to mention for those that have never studied it but I am sure there are parts that you would rather not acknowledge if they limit your perceived rights.
3/17/2014 6:51:17 PM
S Duncan says:
I just read it.

Its surprising how these people always claim "treaty rights" so often but yet when one bothers to read them, they say nothing even remotely like they imply.

What is happening is we have people that are trying to interpret these treaties into other meanings and striving to change what they actually do say into something that was "meant". Be wary of people who try to construe written record for their own purposes.

You see the same approach in the USA with the 2nd Ammendment. It says what it says and the Supreme Court ruled on it years ago, but yet people keep trying to change the meaning of what it clearly says.

Like I said be wary of people with hidden agendas. They often aren't that hidden if you open your eyes like reading the treaties will do for oneself.

I recommend everybody read them (they are not long at all) because you will clearly see how written word has been perverted by so many.
3/22/2014 9:23:04 AM
TIC says:
Geez, when does this all end?
3/17/2014 5:26:27 PM
Tbaylifer 1 says:
Wouldn't a meeting, held with the First Nation and the government, not be "consultation"?
3/17/2014 5:20:27 PM
tiredofit says:
Tbaylifer 1, consultation with First Nations is much different than what is done with the rest of Canada. You see they respect their community and their elders and as such, the consultation process has to include all members. The crown knows this and failed to do so. This is something Horzon failed to recognize as well. They seem to think that showing up with some pretty pictures and telling people they they will not change a thing is not consultation. Something the city could learn from.

The land in question is theirs, Thunder Bay simply owns the lease at this time. FWFN has first right of refusal when said lease is up. Which means it's ultimately still their land prior to it being taken for the watershed. They wish to protect this land. They stilll hunt, fish and trap uin the area.
3/18/2014 6:28:38 AM
Toot Sweet says:
I still hunt, fish, and trap in the area. So what?

Its Canada. Its my land too.
3/18/2014 10:19:37 AM
Comments for this story are semi-moderated. Read our comment guideline.

Add a new comment.
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Log In