Ring of Fire Updates Weekly News Roundup

January 19-25, 2021: Weekly News Roundup

This week in the news, Curve Lake First Nation is launching a suit jointly with Neskantaga First Nation suing the federal government for not upholding their fiduciary duties relating to maintaining and repairing their water systems. While First Nations are contending with boil-water advisory and damage to their water systems, the government of Premier Doug Ford is moving forward with their agenda to develop the Far North. The Matawa Chiefs Council is calling on the government to cease all activities that impact their communities until after the pandemic is over. They are particularly rejecting the province’s January 14 deadline for comment on revision on the Far North Act. When it comes to the pandemic and vaccine rollout, the Ford government says it is committed to continue prioritizing fly-in northern First Nation communities despite vaccine shortages. Also in the news, more provincial funding is announced for winter roads to Moosonee and 21 remote First Nations. This is a double edged-sword as it provides much needed infrastructure to First Nations, but also opens up the north for development. This funding comes from the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines.

January 18, 2021 (Northern Ontario Business):

Queen’s Park moving too fast for Matawa chiefs on Far North Act repeal

Pandemic control, infrastructure deficiencies are priority issue for remote communities, not interests of government and industry

“Three First Nation chiefs contend COVID-19 and the safety of their communities are more pressing issues right now than Premier Doug Ford’s legislative agenda to develop the Far North.” Read more here…

January 21, 2021 (CKDR News):

A Promise To Continue Vaccinating Northern First Nations

“The Ford government doesn’t plan to abandon northern Ontario despite the province facing a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines.” Read more here…

January 23, 2021 (Wawatay News):

More funding announced for winter roads

“The provincial government recently announced about $6 million in funding for 3,170 kilometres of winter roads to Moosonee and 31 remote First Nation communities for the 2020-2021 winter season.” Read more here…

January 25, 2021 (McGill Daily):

Neskantaga First Nation Still Doesn’t Have Clean Water

Clean Water is an Essential Part of COVID Relief

“This past November marked 25 years since Neskantaga First Nation, located in Northwestern Ontario, was placed on a boil water advisory. In October 2020, over 250 Neskantaga residents were evacuated and transferred to a hotel in Thunder Bay after “an oily sheen was found in the Neskantaga water reservoir;” “high levels of hydrocarbons” were discovered in the water after testing. ” Read more here…

January 25, 2021 (The Peterborough Examiner):

Curve Lake First Nation takes water crisis to court

“Curve Lake is launching the suit jointly with Neskantaga First Nation, a remote fly-in community north of Thunder Bay. Chief Christopher Moonias is the other representative plaintiff, along with Whetung.” Read more here…

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