Ring of Fire Updates Weekly News Roundup

August 25-31, 2019 : Weekly News Roundup

The text "What's the Media Saying? Ring of Fire News Round-Up, August 25-31 2019", overlaid on top of a photo of the Attawapiskat River as a storm approaches.

This week, the Ontario government puts an official end to the regional framework agreement with Matawa First Nations and announces its intention to carry out bilateral talks. The NDP critiques this move as a divide and conquer approach, arguing that although the original framework agreement had issues, it would have been better to work on those issues and progress with the existing relationships that had been built through the process. Meanwhile, Noront and Marten Falls Chief Bruce Achneepineskum praise the decision, citing the benefits it with bring such as employment and other economic opportunities and announce that the access road connecting Marten Falls to the provincial highway circuit is in the first stage of an environmental assessment for the access road.

August 27, 2019 (CBC News):

Ontario government ends Ring of Fire regional agreement with Matawa First Nations

Funding for regional talks between province, 9 Matawa First Nations ran out in late 2018

“The provincial government has officially ended the regional framework agreement between Queen’s Park and the First Nations closest to the Ring of Fire, pledging to move forward with a series of bilateral agreements that the province’s Indigenous Affairs minister says will remove delays to completing projects that communities themselves want to see. At the top of that list, Greg Rickford said in an interview with CBC News, is a north-south corridor that, not only could lead to road access to the mineral-rich James Bay lowlands, but can also connect by road, as well as add to the provincial power grid and expand modern telecommunications to, “at least four, five Indigenous communities.” Read more here…

August 29, 2019 (Daily Commercial News):

Ontario to pursue Ring of Fire bilateral talks with First Nations

“Ontario is ripping up an agreement with First Nations on building road access to the Ring of Fire region in favour of pursuing individual deals with the nine communities, saying the move will speed up development of the mining project. Greg Rickford, the minister in charge of the file, announced on Aug. 27 that the new approach will mean the government can address specific community needs and opportunities with First Nation communities.” Read more here…

August 29, 2019 (Globe and Mail):

Why it’s time to cool the hype about the Ring of Fire: Editorial

“The Ring of Fire mineral deposit in remote Northern Ontario was discovered a dozen years ago. Politicians across the political spectrum immediately began touting its potential – billed as tens of billions of dollars, just waiting to be tapped. It’s still waiting. The decision this week by Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative provincial government to restart talks with local First Nations is the latest try at moving the project forward. It’s not clear this government will succeed where others have failed, and it raises the question of whether the dream of Ring of Fire riches is more fantasy than reality.” Read more here…

This article is unfortunately behind a pay wall. The basic summary is…

August 29, 2019 (TB News Watch):

Pitting communities against each other won’t work in the Ring of Fire: Horwath

Ontario NDP leader wraps up three days of caucus meetings in Thunder Bay with a question-and-answer luncheon with local community leaders

“Ontario Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath doesn’t believe the Conservative government’s approach to develop the Ring of Fire is a workable solution. Earlier this week Greg Rickford, the mines minister, said the province would end a framework agreement signed five years ago with nine Matawa First Nations communities, and instead work with communities “willing to work at the speed of business.” Horwath said Ontario has a responsibility and an obligation to consult with First Nations communities about the potentially multi-billion dollar mineral extraction project in the province’s far north.” Read more here…

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