Ring of Fire Updates Weekly News Roundup

February 16-22, 2021: Weekly News Roundup

This week, a consortium of 10 universities and colleges and six media outlets, led by Concordia University’s Institute for Investigative Journalism published findings from an 18-month long investigation of water issues in First Nations communities across the country. The Clean Water, Broken Promises investigative team carried out interviews with 122 water operators and individuals who oversee community water systems.

Nearly half of the interviewees reported having to manage at least one major water quality issue, such as the boiled water advisory in Neskantaga First Nation, featured in the study. They also cited that federal policies were outdated leaving “workers and residents to endure conditions rarely found in non-Indigenous communities.” According to some interviewees, racism and ongoing colonialism play a major role in the ongoing failure to resolve water quality issues.

Meanwhile a few provinces over, in La Ronge Saskatchewan, members of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and local grassroots groups in opposition to a peat moss mining project being proposed by Quebec-based company Lambert Peat Moss Inc.  are raising awareness on the importance of peat bogs to traditional ways of life and its overall ecological significance, locally and globally. 

The global environmental implications of the loss of peatlands, whether in the Ring of Fire or Saskatchewan, are enormous. These bogs are extremely important storage sites for carbon, and play an essential role in mitigating climate change and stabilizing the carbon cycle.

February 17, 2021 (The Sault Star)

Advocates urge government to get trains chugging with spring budgets

Train advocates want to see the provincial and federal governments inject money into rail infrastructure in Northern Ontario

“The Northeastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN) is asking Ontario’s Ford government to put its money where its mouth is and fund rail transportation services that move people and products, especially in Northern Ontario.

The government previously announced that it is developing a comprehensive and integrated transportation plan across Ontario, but train advocates argue that the plan won’t have any substance until it is property funded.” Read more here…

February 18, 2021 (The Narwhal)

Saskatchewan peat moss mining project faces opposition from Indigenous communities, conservationists

“A group opposed to a peat moss mining project south of La Ronge hopes to raise awareness through an online speaker series.

The group is holding an online speaker series featuring Elders and Indigenous conservation activists from northern Saskatchewan. They hope to raise awareness about the importance of peat bogs, or muskeg, to traditional ways of life and land-based food sources.

Quebec-based company Lambert Peat Moss Inc. raised the ire of some La Ronge area residents when it went public with a proposal to extract peat moss from four locations near the Lac La Ronge provincial park.” Read more here…

February 18, 2021 (Resource World)

Ontario features a widespread array of valuable minerals

“The Abitibi Gold Belt incudes the Kirkland Lake region where exploration programs are currently underway. Kirkland Lake Gold has seen great success at it producing Detour Lake Mine and Macassa Mine Complex – a $53 stock.

Then there are the massive nickel discoveries at Sudbury that began in 1883. The total ore mined to date in Sudbury is approximately 1.7 billion tonnes with 40 billion pounds of nickel, 36 billion pounds of copper, 70 million ounces of platinum, palladium and gold and 283 million ounces of silver recovered. Historic production and known reserves in the Sudbury Basin have a total value of about a trillion dollars.” Read more here…

February 18, 2021 (Global News)

How colonial systems have left some First Nations without drinking water

“A year-long joint investigation by a consortium of universities and media organizations including Global News, APTN News, and led by the Institute for Investigative Journalism at Concordia University reveals allegations of flawed and incomplete work being done and a lack of federal oversight is part of the problem. Krista Hessey reports.” Read more here…

February 20, 2021 (APTN National News)

Indigenous services minister ‘alarmed’ by allegations about construction practices on First Nations

“Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says he was alarmed by revelations of a December investigation into construction practices in on-reserve water projects and said he would like to start collecting information about the performance of contractors working on First Nations infrastructure.

‘I’m keen to have as much data as possible. And if it’s helpful in ensuring that the people aren’t the subject of sharp practices, and I’m glad to do that,” Miller said in an interview on Jan.15.” Read more here…

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