Ring of Fire News


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Tory #RingOfFire, Resource Revenue Sharing Promises?

Following the June 7th election (link to overall results), Ontario’s Conservatives will form a majority government  with 76 seats, with the NDP forming the official opposition with 40 seats.  The rest of the Legislature:  7 Liberal seats and 1 Green Party seat.  Premier-Designate Doug Ford will become Premier and name his cabinet on June 29, 2018.

Ring of Fire

The Conservative platform commits to “using every tool at (their) disposal to cut through the special interest and bureaucratic delays preventing Northern Ontario from benefiting from the Ring of Fire and other important resource projects.” 

Ford also told media during a campaign stop in Timmins, “consultations were important, but the project should not be held up at the expense of perpetuating the red tape that is involved.”  Elsewhere, one Tory candidate also told media, “various tribal councils around the area” need to be partners in the development.”  Ford is also quoted saying, “We’re going to work with the people of the North, we’re going to work with the First Nations, we’re going to respect the treaties that are in place right now. But we’re not going to talk. We’re going to get in there, after the agreements, and get to work.”  A related question is whether whether the incoming government will honour a negotiation-guiding Framework Agreement signed in 2014 with nine Ring of Fire First Nations.

Indigenous leaders, like Chiefs of Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, are calling for significant consultation with First Nations on the project:  “First Nations must be fully consulted on any proposed development in the Far North and the Ring of Fire. First Nation consent is required here … Free, prior and informed consent means our Peoples will make the final decision before any bulldozers enter pristine lands.”  Responding to a campaign statement where Ford said “If I have to hop on a bulldozer myself, we’re going to start building roads to the Ring of Fire,” (more via CBC.ca here) Mushkegowuk Council Grand Chief Jonathon Solomon is quoted saying, “You just can’t bulldoze over First Nations … If Doug Ford believes he can do that, he’s going to have a lot of issues he is going to face.”

Resource Revenue Sharing

According to a party statement, the new government “will establish resource revenue sharing from mining, forestry and aggregates to help Northern and Indigenous communities share in the benefits of resource development (and) direct the province to take a portion of provincial revenues collected from aggregate licenses, stumpage fees and the mining tax. This revenue will go to the local, host Northern and Indigenous communities …”  The platform document says this would result in $30 million per year flowing to communities, starting in year two of the mandate.  What isn’t clear yet is:

  • exactly what “local,” “host Northern” and “Indigenous” communities mean;
  • what formula would be used to figure who gets how much; and
  • what a new government might mean for an initial resource revenue sharing agreement signed in May 2018 between Ontario, Grand Council Treaty #3, Mushkegowuk and Wabun Tribal Council.

Former Federal Natural Resources Minister in Cabinet???

Conservative Greg Rickford, a former federal Conservative MP, cabinet minister (Natural Resources and FedNor) and Parliamentary Secretary (INAC) under Stephen Harper, has been elected in the Kenora-Rainy River riding.  With such experience, he could be expected to be included in cabinet.

Caveat on Next Steps

The Tory platform promises a “line-by-line audit of government spending to bring an end to the culture of waste and mismanagement in government,” and to find some $6 billion in savings to be used elsewhere. The platform also calls for “a value-for-money audit of every government program” and “an independent commission of inquiry whose mandate is to get to the bottom of the deficit scandal and to propose timely solutions to solving the deficit problem.”  Any of these reviews could mean a freeze on any current agreements until the reviews are done.


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