NDP Northern Development and Mines critic, Michael Mantha, released the following statement in response to the Ford government ripping up the regional framework agreement between Ontario and the chiefs of the Matawa First Nations, which was designed to advance development in the Ring of Fire:
“The Ring of Fire has the potential to be a massive source of economic opportunity for Northern Ontario and the province. Families and communities in the North are counting on the Ring of Fire to provide stable jobs and opportunities for young people.
Yet the Ford government’s announcement didn’t even pay lip service to the billion dollars in funding needed to build roads leading from communities to the Ring of Fire. And Ford’s recent budget made no commitments to meaningful consultations with First Nations impacted by development in this area.
The Wynne Liberals already wasted a decade of potential economic opportunities for northerners. Doug Ford is making things worse by ripping up the framework agreement between Ontario and the nine Matawa-member First Nations. Now, we’re at risk of losing another decade of opportunity to ignite the Ring of Fire. And Doug Ford’s ‘divide and conquer’ approach destroys what partnership work has been accomplished with First Nations communities.
The framework agreement the Wynne Liberals signed had problems that needed to be fixed. But the Ford government is taking things from bad to worse.
The NDP will keep fighting for investment into the Ring of Fire development — development that can only happen in true partnership with First Nations.”