-Reported by Wendy Gray
Three Chiefs of northern Ontario First Nations are calling on Premier Doug Ford to check his behaviour when it comes to the Ring of Fire. In a letter to the province, the Chiefs of the Attawapiskat, Fort Albany, and Neskantaga First Nations say the language that Ford has used suggests the mining development is going ahead no matter what, which is out of touch with reality.
“These statements are out of touch with reality, out of step with reconciliation and modern legal development, and not in keeping with the constitutional mandate of honour of the Crown. This behaviour should immediately cease and we ask that it does. The Premier has publicly stated on numerous occasions that the Ring of Fire mining development is going ahead no matter what (eg. “We’re doing it.” “If I have to hop on a bulldozer myself…”).”
They accuse Ford of unilaterally intending to develop the site whether First Nations of the James Bay Lowlands consent or consider it safe for both the people living there and the environment.
Earlier in November Ford said the province is consulting with First Nations on the construction of a road into the planned mining site.
The Chiefs contend that Ford does not have the proper environmental information to make an informed decision, “The Premier’s statements are incredible displays of bad faith in the midst of the ongoing consultations and regulatory assessments that are actually supposed to mean something and shape the outcomes of decision-making processes. The Premier cannot possibly know what is good to do “up here” from an environmental point of view, because he does not yet have the information needed to know this.”
They are asking the premier to stop pushing ahead with the development of the Ring while trying to pass it off as “First Nation approved.”