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2014-08-30 at 16:23

Webequie says its confidence in province shaken

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By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

The closest community to the Ring of Fire is calling out the province for going ahead with its Ring of Fire Development Corporation.

The province announced the non-profit corporation late last week saying it honoured an election promise to establish the corporation within 60 days of taking office. But Webequie chief Cornelius Wabasse said the decision violates clear commitments the province has made to his community and he's disappointed. Confidence in the community over the regional negotiation process, started by Bob Rae for Matawa and Frank Iacobucci and now expected to enter into its second phase soon, has been shaken.

"Our community members are upset. We agreed as a community to negotiate with Ontario in good faith. This can't happen if Ontario makes decisions without our involvement," he said in a media release.

"We have been clear that we are willing to work with Ontario about Ring of Fire issues but it has to be in a true spirit of partnership. Decisions of this magnitude cannot be made by Ontario behind closed doors."

Webequie Coun. Roy Spence agreed saying that development will change his community's way of life forever. The province promised Webequie a true government-to-government partnership and also to respect the regional framework process its in with the government as part of the Matawa Tribal Council. Title, rights and indigenous laws need to be respected.

"Ontario's unilateral announcement of the creation of an economic development corporation is exactly the opposite of the kind of respectful process that we expect," Spence said in the release.

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle said he and Premier Kathleen Wynne spoke privately to all nine Matawa chiefs at the Tribal Council's annual general meeting in Marten Falls shortly after Wynne made the 60-day commitment to the development corporation.

"The understanding at least when we left that room was that certainly any discussions related to whether or not Matawa would become a full partner in that development corporation would be part of the regional process negotiations," Gravelle said.

"Certainly there was an awareness that this was a commitment that the province had made."

Having First Nations on board with the corporation is a top priority for the province but so is getting the federal government and industry to be full partners as well.

"No decisions have been made related to transportation infrastructure. That's the purpose of us putting together the development corporation, so that partners themselves can make those decisions," Gravelle said.

The province shares the same goals to see the Ring of Fire developed. Negotiations can be difficult at times but Gravelle said he's confident that it will work out.

"I am hopeful that we will able to work together," he said.


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Comments

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Jasper says:
Totally shocked! Just the first of many northern communities that together will be the demise of any operations in the ring of fire. This hardly even qualifies as news.
8/30/2014 7:43:55 PM
The Beaver…. says:
well that didn't take long...stay tuned
8/30/2014 9:04:24 PM
Royalflush says:
Perfect example of the tail trying to wag the dog!
A hackneyed cliche, but appropriate.
9/2/2014 8:30:37 PM
jonthunder says:
I suspect it would be better to talk to each other in person, around a table; rather than at each other through the media.
8/31/2014 9:48:13 AM
hockeyday says:
The bar will never be met because many of these bands want full consent and cash from any projects rather than the "consultation" required by the supreme court. Ring of fire is dead!!
8/31/2014 10:37:04 AM
archer says:
How many people live in webeqiue(sorry for the spelling). When a heghway passes through people have their property expropriated. There is no consultation for these small groups of people as the benefit for the masses outweights the negatives. Im sure the federal and provincial governments have the money to relocate(buy out) the people of this community and Im sure it would be a much more generous amlunt than the average non first nations person would get in such a situation. I dont make this statement as a racial comment. I make it knowing some of the treaty information. I have tried to gather treaty info but it is scattered and appears to leave a lot to interpretation. I would like to see the treaty contracts that are governing our first nations people but am confused as to what is what.
8/31/2014 7:04:03 PM
nvjgu says:
So will the ring of fire development corporation people be on the sunshine list now.
9/1/2014 8:30:29 AM
ranma says:
Archer, there is no interpretation. The Supreme Court already said that both sides must adhere to the words of the treaty. That being said, it means that no reserves are due royalties, unless they themselves found the deposit. No reserves are allowed to stop infrastructure development on their lands either. It's in there in black and white.

9/1/2014 11:01:33 AM
bob roberts says:
4 senior bureaucrats already on the sunshine list. Big Budget should pay for lots of expenses for meeting and travel. After a few years of consultations with the various interested parties a strategy paper of two and maybe a decsion to actually move forward with a rail or roadway. 3-5 years later we may see some jobs being created and ROF moves forward.
9/2/2014 12:08:00 PM
karcat says:
When this ever gets off the ground , I wont be around, if u believe in the liberals , then your in a dream ty
9/2/2014 5:02:48 PM
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