THUNDER BAY – Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy extended his congratulations to the nine Matawa member First Nations and the Ontario government on the Ring of Fire regional framework agreement (RFA) commemorated April 24 in Thunder Bay.
“I congratulate Matawa member First Nations and the Province of Ontario on this important agreement – it is a good indication that there is movement towards greater First Nations participation in the Canadian economy,” said Regional Chief Beardy.
The RFA sets out a community-based regional approach ensuring that Matawa member First Nations and Ontario work together to advance opportunities in the Ring of Fire – focussing on the issues of regional long-term environmental monitoring, enhanced participation in environmental assessment processes, resource revenue sharing, economic supports, regional and community infrastructure. It was developed with the assistance of negotiators Bob Rae and Frank Iacobucci to enhance community-based MOUs that were signed in September 2012.
“The RFA is a step in the right direction and the concept has potential to be a model to provide better economic certainty for resource extraction, economic development projects as well as guarantee meaningful participation of First Nations in the global economy,” Regional Chief Beardy said.
The ability to meaningfully involve and receive the enthusiastic participation of First Nations in the mineral and energy sector was recently described by former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney as Canada’s biggest challenge. “The Ring of Fire is the microcosm of our broader challenge and without the active involvement and enthusiastic cooperation of First Nations, natural resources will remain in the ground—dead as a door nail.”
The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada.