Five northwestern and Far North Ontario First Nations are pushing back against the pace of change in the mining industry.
Eighty people from communities known as the First Nations Land Defence Alliance are showing up at Queen’s Park on March 29 to “confront the Ford government’s mining agenda,” according to a news release from Grassy Narrows First Nation, also known as Asubpeeschoseewagong Anishinabek.
The release said the government’s mining agenda will “lead to conflict, not prosperity.”
The group represent the communities of Neskantaga, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), Grassy Narrows, Wapekeka, and Muskrat Dam First Nations, and Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa, the deputy leader of the Official Opposition.
A press conference will be held before Question Period.
Be prepared, the release said, for a “stare down” of Premier Doug Ford by Mamakwa inside the Ontario Legislature during Question Period.
Recently proposed changes to Ontario’s Mining Act aimed at putting more mines into production faster have prompted backlash from these communities with claims that mining on their traditional lands “courts conflict and violates their rights.”
The communities said the Ford government “has granted thousands of mining claims” without First Nations consent. They claim the province wants to “fast track dangerous mining approvals, delay safe closure plans, and build environmentally risky roads through the muskeg to the Ring of Fire.”
The First Nations said they are presenting a united front to protect the land and water.